[cite] MultiFaith:[/cite]... I am under the impression that it is a philosophy, but I have heard others call it a religious path with a system of deities...
I find this dual aspect very wide spread. In the case of religion, we have a profoundly subtle mysterious universal world-view
which all religions pretty much share in common, though articulate and express differently. Then we have instinctive human nature
(tribal politics and other emotions) with all its nitpicking and squabbling.
For example, Christianity certainly doesn't reflect the teaching of Jesus to any great extent. Same is true for Taoism and all the rest. We have the ideal, the vision, on one hand and then we have our selves - needs and fears, and all that entails.
My motto is, don't judge a religion by what its followers do or say (or don't do or say). Each of us must separate the wheat from the chaff for ourselves