Zoroastrianism: Abrahamic or Eastern?

Silverbackman

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Zoroastrianism is like the middle religion if you think about it. While it is monotheistic, it has no roots to Abrahamic Faiths and it has no roots to Eastern Philosophy. The birth if Zoroastrianism is in Iran wich is sort of the middle between Israel/Arabia and India/China. It also contains ideas that is discussed in both Abrahamic and Eastern religions.

So what is Zoroastrianism then? Is it in a family of religion all on its own (only member of its religious family)? or is it closer to one of the other major religious families?
 

Silverbackman

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Speaking of Zoroastrianism why does it not have its own seperate board in the forum? It has more followers than Neo-Paganism and Rastarfarianism according to addherents.com, and yet those two religions have their own forum and board. Perhaps IBrian should open a new Zoroastrianism board;).
 

brucegdc

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Silverbackman said:
Speaking of Zoroastrianism why does it not have its own seperate board in the forum? It has more followers than Neo-Paganism and Rastarfarianism according to addherents.com, and yet those two religions have their own forum and board. Perhaps IBrian should open a new Zoroastrianism board;).

When they show up here in sufficient numbers, he will... that's what happened with B'ahai and Rastafarian - enough folks showed up to warrant a sub-board.
 

iBrian

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We have at least one Zoroastrian here - but after recent restructuring, although a Zoroastrian board has been requested more than once, I'm currently unable to determine where such a board would be best placed. It is definitely an issue I am giving consideration, though.
 

prajapati

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Silverbackman said:
While it is monotheistic, it has no roots to Abrahamic Faiths
the opposite isnt too wrong though
http://www.zarathushtra.com/z/article/influenc.htm

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1994/4/4zoroa94.html

Silverbackman said:
and it has no roots to Eastern Philosophy.

http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/books/ait/ch46.htm
go for 4.6.6.

and http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/articles/aid/astronomy.html
go for 2.1 (astronomical tables), if not the whole of it.

and http://www.bharatvani.org/books/ait/ch61.htm
6.1.2.. again if possible the whole page


put 2 and 2 and 2 together.
 

arthra

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Well I think this is a good general topic...

Zoroastrianism has Indo-Aryan roots and you can see many similar words with Sanskrit and similar dieties referred to wuch as Mitra...

So you could say it has a common base with Indian religion.

But the history of Zoroaster and His revelation has a lot in common with Western religions... and scholars note Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism in several ways suchas apocalyptic perspectives, angelology and other areas.

Baha'is accept Zoroaster as a Manifestation of God and you can say we Baha'is also close to Zoroastrians in that we recognize Naw-Ruz as our New Year and we use a mostly solar calendar.

Baha'u'llah also was accepted by many Zoroastrians in Iran as the fulfillment of the prophecies of Shah Bahram. He Himself is believed to be a descendent of the last Sassanid ruler Yazdigird III.

So we have a "kinship" you could say I think with many Zoroastrians.

Personally I liked the older arrangement of the Board and feel Zoroastrianism should be more in the Monotheist catagory and listed there...

I think once a category is listed it will draw people there rather than wait until enough people are on the boards identifying themselves as Zoroastrians but that's my view.

- Art :cool:
 

iBrian

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Under the older strcuture, Zoroastrianism certainly would have fallen under Monotheism. But now I'm really trying to reserve that individual category as a neutral ground for addressing issues that cross the relationships between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

I had thought about a Zoroastrian board under the Ancient World category - perhaps helping invigorate it.

However, I think especially considering recent comments on possible connections between Zoroastrianism and Hinduism, it may make more sense to place it in the Eastern category. Though, again, this would not be ideal precisely because there is an interesting relationship between Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

I guess such a faith is so much at the crossroads of Eastern philosophy of the big Middle-Eastern religions, that it is difficult to find an ideally suited suitable connection.

The board structure may even change yet again, to help create more visible boards for various world religions, instead of their simply being sub-forums of larger categories.

We'll see soon enough, I guess. :)
 

Popeyesays

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Well, I have seen lineages that place Zoroaster as a descendant of Abraham through Hagar. So trying to qualify these things too tightly is probably counter-productive.

Regards,
Scott
 

smkolins

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Popeyesays said:
Well, I have seen lineages that place Zoroaster as a descendant of Abraham through Hagar. So trying to qualify these things too tightly is probably counter-productive.

Regards,
Scott

I would have thought it was Keturah.

Aside from this no other religion has such a strong relationship with both Judaism and Christianity - Moses marrying a Median (aka Zoroastrian) and living among them, Cyrus, a Zoroastrian king, being lead by the right hand by God in relationship to the Jews returning to their homeland, and Magi seeking out the new born Jesus from their own prophecies - however much modern Zoroastrians have nothing to say on these issues because their scripture was largely destroyed by Alexander the Great as well as in final form long before these events.
 

Popeyesays

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smkolins said:
I would have thought it was Keturah.

Aside from this no other religion has such a strong relationship with both Judaism and Christianity - Moses marrying a Median (aka Zoroastrian) and living among them, Cyrus, a Zoroastrian king, being lead by the right hand by God in relationship to the Jews returning to their homeland, and Magi seeking out the new born Jesus from their own prophecies - however much modern Zoroastrians have nothing to say on these issues because their scripture was largely destroyed by Alexander the Great as well as in final form long before these events.

My mistake, Keturah indeed.

Scott
 

queenofsheba

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Zoroastrism has its origins in Indo-European polytheism. Persians called their gods "ahuras", while hindus called theirs "daevas". In Persian polytheism, the daevas became evil gods.

There is much debate on when Zarathustra lived, but I believe it was around 600 BC. He started monotheism by saying that there was only one god: Ahura Mazda or Wise Lord. Ahura Mazda created the universe and two "mainyus" or spirits. Spenta Mainyu was the good spirit (= holy spirit), Angra Mainyu was the evil spirit (=satan, fallen angel). Spenta Mainyu was helped by six angels or "amesha spentas".
The old Israelite religion was not really monotheistic, but monolaterist, meaning they believed that more than one god existed, but they only worshipped one (first commandment). In the sixth century BC, during the Babylonian exile, they formed a coalition with the Persians, to fight the Babylonians. This led to the return of the tribe Juda to Jerusalem, the building of the secong temple and the start of actual juda-ism.
Judaism and zoroastrism influenced each other: there are Persian documents that recognize the jewish god, so Ahura Mazda and YHWH were probably seen as the same god since then, in spite of having different origins: Moses vs. Zarathustra.
This list shows the strong connection between zoroastrism, judaism and early christianity:
Ahura Mazda = YHWH
Spenta Mainyu = Holy Spirit
amesha spentas = archangels
Angra Mainyu = Satan
daevas = demons
Also the concepts of hell, purgatory, paradise and the final judgement existed in zoroastrism.
 

seattlegal

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I think it would be very interesting to compare the Zoroastrian monotheism to the monotheism of Ankhenaten in Egypt, especially with the uncertainty of just when Zarathustra lived.
 

kiwimac

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The earliest date given for Zarathushtra's living is around 1500 BCE with most scholars placing him between 1000 BCE and 600 BCE. He is not seen as a 'prophet' but as a teacher. That is, his words lead us to Ahura Mazda and tell us about Ahura Mazda without being a divine revelation GIVEN by Ahura Mazda.)

As far as Gatha only Zoroastrians are concerned Zoroaster is a monotheist while traditional zoroastrians would be considered ditheists.

Kiwimac
 

kiwimac

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Zoroastrianism: A Beginners Guide.


What is Zoroastrianism?


Simply put, Zoroastrianism is the name given to the religion and beliefs based on the teachings which are attributed to the Persian religious leader Zararthushtra ( in Greek Zoroaster, in later Persian Zartosht). Mazdayasna (worship of Ahura Mazda) is the name of the religion that recognizes the divine authority of Ahura Mazda, the creator who Zarathushtra discovered by studying nature and who was proclaimed by Zoroaster to be the one uncreated Creator of all (God).


"Mazdaism" is a transliteration of Mazdayasna, which means " Worshipper of Mazda." Most followers of Ahura Mazda call themselves Zoroastrians or Behdini (followers of the Good Religion.)


Who was Zoroaster?


Zoroaster is generally accepted as an historical figure, but dating just when Zoroaster lived is fraught with difficulty. The most widely accepted calculations place him near to 1200 BCE thus making him a candidate for the 'founder of the earliest religion based on revealed scripture' while there are other estimates that date his life anywhere between the 18th and the 6th centuries BCE.


But it is when the language of the Gathas themselves are considered that scholars have been able to build perhaps the best picture of just when Zoroaster lived.

The Gathas and the chapter known as Yasna Haptanghaiti are all written in Old Avestan and the language used in these passages is much older than the language used in other parts of the Zoroastrian writings which are called the Avesta and which are written in what is called Young Avestan.

Old Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit are both descendants of the Proto-Indo-Iranian language and the Gathic Old Avestan is still quite close in structure to the Sanskrit of the Rig-Veda in language usage. However the Sanskrit of the Rig-Veda is somewhat more conservative in outlook and structure than the Avestan of the Gathas and so, based on the changes in the languages, scholars date the Gathas to around 1000 BCE, give or take a couple of centuries.

** But note also that the issue lies with how old is the Rig Veda, which no one seems to know with anything approximating certainty. There are also those who think the Gathas are older than the Rig Veda, Dastur Dhalla, and some other linguists see the Gaathic language as more complex and archaic.

Most of what we know about Zoroaster comes to us from a variety of sources, the Avesta, the Gathas, Greek historical works, archaeological evidence and oral history. Zoroaster was born on the cusp as societies shifted from being mainly nomadic to a more settled agrarian lifestyle. He lived in an area of the Middle East then known as Chorasmia ( An area roughly occupying present day Northern Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan)

He was married, he had three daughters and three sons and it was at 30 that he received enlightenment. He preached for many years before his wife and children converted with the first convert being a cousin.

These statements are all based on legends that have been woven in traditions. They probably contain some truths and facts, but there is no way of ascertaining them and thus cannot be taken as historical.

The later Avestan writings make Zoroaster a kind of 'superman', wrestling with demons and being tempted by Ahriman. The Gathas, however, show him an ordinary mortal, perplexed by his call, utterly certain of Ahura Mazda and bewildered by his lack of success. Eventually he converted King Vistaspa who reigned in eastern Iran and with the king's conversion, Zoroastrianism became a force in the region and there, as well in India among the Parsees, it still survives.

Who is Ahura Mazda?

For Zoroastrians, God called Ahura Mazda , is the beginning and the end,the creator of everything visible and invisible. Although it is recognized that the concept of "God", like many others, is slightly different in Zarathushtrian thought. Zarathushtra might best be considered, if we are to use modern terms to describe his doctrines, a Panentheist, that is he perceives a Supreme Being


Thus this Creator is immanent in Creation but also transcends it . In fact as has been said one can see Mazda Ahura as containing creation in a way.


Moreover, the very concept of Lordship and Sovereignty are different, Ahura which is often translated as lord was the name of a set of old arya Gods which were totally abstract lacking any form, they can best considered as energy since they have no body, yet they are personal.

In addition Mazda does not into impose Her/His will but rather teachs, persuades etc. Thus Mazda's relationship with mortals is one of a partner, an ally, a friend and even a soul mate )

This being who is source of all that exists. The name Ahura Mazda contains both masculine and feminine elements. (Ahura, the Lord, is masculine while Mazda, Most or Super Wise or Knowledgeable, and Most or Super Giving or Generous One, is feminine.)


Ahura Mazda, according to Zoroastrian belief, is the Eternal, the Pure and the only Truth. In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts in Zoroastrianism and which are considered to have been written by Zoroaster himself, the teacher gives devotion to no other divinity besides Ahura Mazda.


What are the Gathas?


The Gathas are scripture written in an ancient Indo-Iranian verse form. Gatha means 'Song.' There are 17 Gathic hymns, they exist both on their own and as part of the much larger Avesta. They are the earliest of the Zoroastrian writings.


What about Dualism?

Perhaps the most well-known of later Zoroastrian doctrines is the doctrine of Dualism or Ditheism. This posits that Ahura Mazda has two 'emanations' called Spenta Mainyu (Good Mind) and Angra Mainyu (Bad or Evil Mind.) These became in later Zoroastrian belief Ormazd and Ahriman.

This doctrine, however, is purely a product of later thought. In Zoroaster's revelation,there is only Ahura Mazda who will ultimately triumph over the 'lie'(Yasna 48.1.) But not here and not now. For now human beings must choose which of the two 'forces' they will serve, Truth or the Lie, this choosing is a life-long affair but righteousness begins by making the first choice for Ahura Mazda and for the Truth.


Quote:"...Listen to the best things with your ears, reflect upon them with an unbiased mind. Then let each man and women for him or her self choose between the two ways of thinking. Awaken to my doctrine, before this great event of choice comes upon you..." [Avesta: The Gathas: Song 3:2 (FreeTranslation)]

What about Converts?


There are two main groups who can be considered 'cultural' Zoroastrians, they are the Zoroastrian community in Iran and the Parsee community in India. The Parsees (refugees in India from the invasion of Iran by the Muslims) do not allow conversion at all. The Iranian community does but quietly and carefully for conversion from Islam is considered a crime in Iran.


But as well as these groups there are groups of 'Gathas-only' Zoroastrian converts by choice springing up throughout the world with the major centres for such groups being the US and South America. So it is indeed possible to convert to Zoroastrianism.

See also the article at:

http://www.vohuman.org/Article/The%2...o Choose.htm

What does Zoroastrianism teach?


This part of the article I have struggled with, the teachings of Zoroastrianism are deep and wide but I think the following quote from:


A Universal Religion - Zoroastrianism at zoroastrianism.cc/universal_religion.html is perhaps the best definition I have read.

Quote:"... Zarathushtra's is a message about a spirituality that progresses towards self-realization, fulfillment and completeness, as a good creation of a totally good God. It is a message of freedom - freedom to choose, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from sin, freedom from stultifying rituals, superstitious practices, fake spirituality and ceremonials. The God of Zarathustra, is not a God of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shall not".

God in Zoroastrianism does not care what you wear, what and when you eat or where and when you worship.


God instead cares how righteous, progressive and good you are.


1. God is not about fear guilt and Condemnation.

2. God is Wisdom Love and Logic.

3. God does not have favorites and does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, sex, race or class.

4. God treats humans with dignity and respect.

5. God is not a slave master, or despot, among his serfs.

6. God is man's Soul Mate and Partner.

7. God is not Jealous, Wrathful or Vengeful.

8. Man is not sinful, fallen or depraved.

9. God has no opponent and heaven and hell are states of mind and being.

10. Man was created to progress to God-likeness and eliminate wrong from the Cosmos in partnership with God.

The Zoroastrian Religion pictures humanity as the growing and evolving creation of a God that respects it, and wants it to collaborate in the task of preserving, nourishing, fostering and refreshing this Living World and all it offers.

A Zoroastrian is supposed to progress towards God (Ahura Mazda) by their own choices. Choosing to do good, and to avoid choosing to do wrong or evil. Zoroastrianism is thus the first truly ethical religion of human-kind and teaches that mortals achieve their goal of god-likeness and spiritual completeness by fighting evil through good thoughts, words and deeds. ..."
 

Caimanson

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Fascinating.
If there is no heaven or hell what is the view of eternity, and/or the purpose of existence for humans. What is the ultimate point of fighting evil?
 

wil

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Fascinating.
If there is no heaven or hell what is the view of eternity, and/or the purpose of existence for humans. What is the ultimate point of fighting evil?
I think that is a huge point...accept a little differently as usual. Why fight evil? What we resist persists. Simply find the good and look toward it.

Just because there isn't a bean counter someplace doesn't mean one would have to succumb to other thought.

I always thought Abrahamic would be under Zorastrianism...ie Z came before A...no?
 

flowperson

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Kiwimac:

Thank you so much for your post. I had always thought that the concepts of Ahura Mazda and Ahriman were contemporaneous with each other and that the religion was inherently dualistic. What you have written makes it seem to be a possible answer for some of the modern dilemmas we all seem to be having with religious belief in a modern world. If I'm not mistaken quite a few Parsees of the professional classes emigrated to Germany after WWII and now are a large influence in the directions of that society, at least in the North.

flow....:)
 

Caimanson

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Good point Wil, let's scrap the abrahamic section and rename it zoroastrian.
It's only fair, due credit when it's due.:D
 

lunamoth

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Hi Kiwimac,

Do you know much about the 1290 years prophecy alluded to in scripture with respect to Zoroastrianism? Could these prophecies found in Daniel and Rev be traced back to an original Zoroastrian origin?

luna
 
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