Recently I have been reading a set of books on heresy. Four are by Yuri Stoyanov of University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, Near and Middle East Department. He has a pretty hefty resume in the area of Heresies (The Hidden Tradition in Europe, The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy, Christian Dualist Heresies in the Byzantine World C.650-C.1450: Selected Sources, and Defenders and Enemies of the True Cross; as well as 30 academic papers). He lays out a pretty good case in explaining the dualistic heresy-theology from Zoroaster to the Cathari. Very interesting, if very arcane, stuff. What is the dualistic heresy-theology? Dualism (in this sense) is the theory that the universe has been ruled from its origins by two conflicting powers, one good and one evil, both existing as equally ultimate first causes. Sound familiar? Nearly all forms of Zoroastrianism (including “Mazdaism”, “Magism”, “Mithrism”, “Mazdakism”, “Yazdanism”, “Gnosticism”, “Manichaenism”, “Zuvanism”, and “Khurramism”) are strictly dualistic. That is there is one good g!d and one bad g!d. The world is a battlefield between the two. Usually the creator g!d, responsible for the creation of the material world is the bad g!d (roughly the “destructive spirit” or Angra Mainyu or Ahriman). The “illuminating wisdom” (Ahura Mazda or Ormuzd or Ohrmuzd or Hormazd) thetrue g!d. Mary Boyce and her thirteen books (and lord knows how many articles) is the academically outstanding Western Scholar on Zoroastrianism (there is much debate about her findings). In the Western (that is non-Iranian) world the basic schemata (a false creator g!d and a true g!d) is manifested in a long line of so-called heresies (from Paulicians through Bogomilism to Cathari to modern “Gnostic Churches”). Neither Zoroastrianism nor heresies are really what I want to bring up. It is rather the dualistic schemata itself. Is the material world really so false and evil that one should not propagate? Is the true g!d really utterly divided from the material world? As you all probably know, I take a pretty Kazantzakian-Whiteheadean approach to all of this. That is, while our ultimate aim is to rise above the merely material, strive towards the spiritual, there is nothing inherently evil in creation (except the mind of man, which can give rise to some pretty horrific things like Nuclear Weapons, Sarin Gas, torture, bigotry, and injustice). It is hard for me to say the Ebola virus, earthquakes, volcanoes, Grizzly Bears, and Great White Sharks are evil. What do you think?