I think that some of this stories are parable.Is the parable philosphically robust? I think yes,but i see waht you mean. "Encumbering"...yes i agree with you that Taoism is a relatively light encumbering than other traditions.И
By the way folk religious taoism isn't so light encumbering as far as i know.
Sure, I think parables work better than many of the more miraculous tales as they are "honest fictions". I respect some of the parables a lot, in particular the one of the Good Samaritan.
A parable that seems very like Taoism is that of the Lily of the Field. I have seen some critiques pointing out that humans do have to toil in order to live - they can't just get energy as plants do. This may be a picayune and pedantic point - but I also think it is why Lao Tse and Chuang Tzu are perhaps better sages than Jesus Christ - the parables are of a different quality. There is a flexibility there that is absent from other faiths, as well as a more realist stance.
Chuang-Tsu, with his butterfly parable, even seems to have anticipated Cartesian doubt by nearly 2,000 years, which I think is hugely impressive.
I am sure a close examination of the folk believes and rituals surrounding Taoism will reveal an awful lot of bewildering things that are just as offputting as those of any other orthodoxy - I haven't really looked into Taoism in practice as much as sought to learn about the general worldview.
Yes.I think Abramic traditions value words more than Taoism and other eastern traditions.Maybe this huge holy books full of words of god and missionary work dispose to it.
I think so - I get an impression of very confused works that advocate or ban certain things in certain places, and other things in others, and even the opposite things in others - and I simply don't see how this can be a route to universal truth. If a book is the word of God - why is it so unclear and inconsistent and why does it require reformation and reinterpretation and so on? Why would a god communicate unclearly unless he wanted to confuse people?
Tao - with its emphasis on action (or inaction) relative to situation - seems to have the heart of the matter.