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Zoroastrian in name only?...

Corthos

Great Old One
So, @Rival, @matthew_/!/ , @kiwimac, @Mazdaian, @A Greased Scotsman, and anyone else who is a Zoroastrian (or particularly slippery Zoroastrian Philosophers)...

What is the teetering point when someone who claims to be a Zoroastrian goes from being a true Zoroastrian (in your opinion), to being one in title only?

Is it when someone strays too far from the teachings of Zoroaster (or the Avesta)? Is it when someone internalizes too many elements from other religions/philosophies? Maybe the only stipulation in your mind is that they uphold good thoughts, good words, or good deeds? I'm interested in what specific things it takes to "cross the line" in your mind. =)
 

matthew_/!/

Member
In my opinion anyone can claim to be a Zoroastrian but you only are one truly when you follow the teachings of Zoroaster and incorporate them into your life as much as possible. As to someone being a 'title only' Zoroastrian I would say that is someone who doesn't really believe entirely [in the teachings of Zarathustra]. (My opinion of course)

In my opinion if a person incorporates the philosophical beliefs of some other religion then they are more of a title Zoroastrian rather than a 'true' Zoroastrian. (Only if the foreign belief is contradicting to the Zoroastrian faith)

In my mind for someone to cross the line would be when a person stops believing in the teachings of Zarathustra in any part.

(This was a rather quick thought and completely my own opinion)
 

Rival

Si m'ait Dieus
Staff member
Premium Member
A Mazdayasnian must believe in Ahuramazda/God. It sounds silly, to some, but there are some Christians who have serious doubts about God and if you are a chronic doubter I'm not sure you qualify.

Must follow the teachings of the Prophet Zarathustra, obviously.

Don't worship other Gods/the Daevas.
 

Corthos

Great Old One
In my opinion anyone can claim to be a Zoroastrian but you only are one truly when you follow the teachings of Zoroaster and incorporate them into your life as much as possible. As to someone being a 'title only' Zoroastrian I would say that is someone who doesn't really believe entirely [in the teachings of Zarathustra]. (My opinion of course)

Must follow the teachings of the Prophet Zarathustra, obviously.

Agreed; for me, the original Gathas are enough. How do you folks feel about the Yasna? Better yet, how would you feel about someone who followed the whole Avesta?

Though I disagree with Parsis, I don't feel it's right to disregard their beliefs, or to discredit them as Zoroastrians. That said, reading some of the things they put on the internet can be discouraging. =/

Sometimes it gets tricky, too, when there's a whole smattering of ideals that people have about Zoroastrianism. Sometimes I have a hard time finding a unifying voice on ideology or specific details...

I have this book right now in paperback: http://www.zarathushtra.com/z/gatha/The Gathas - AAJ.pdf , and I have this coming in the mail: http://www.amazon.com/Gathas-sublim...qid=1455523111&sr=8-1&keywords=gathas+sublime . I feel like I might order an academic translation next, just so I can cross reference the differences in translation. =) There are some websites I frequent, too, though there aren't many (and a few of them haven't been updated in years).

In my opinion if a person incorporates the philosophical beliefs of some other religion then they are more of a title Zoroastrian rather than a 'true' Zoroastrian. (Only if the foreign belief is contradicting to the Zoroastrian faith)

Ok. =) What about meditation or prayer techniques, more specifically? What about rituals from other beliefs (such as an ancient Canaanite ritual of blessing)? Maybe casting spells, or practicing another religion that is syncretic, or eclectic practics? If none of these conflicted with Zoroastrianism, would you still consider an individual who did these things a true Zoroastrian?

Don't worship other Gods/the Daevas.

Very clear cut, thank you. =) Do you have any comments on magic, syncretic beliefs, or any of the other things I mentioned above?

In my mind for someone to cross the line would be when a person stops believing in the teachings of Zarathustra in any part.

I agree, though I am a Gathas only Zoroastrian (like my religious title to the left suggests). =) How do you feel about the rest of the Avesta on this subject, (the Yasna, specifically, since Zoroaster was supposed to have written it)?

A Mazdayasnian must believe in Ahuramazda/God. It sounds silly, to some, but there are some Christians who have serious doubts about God and if you are a chronic doubter I'm not sure you qualify.

Aye, that's when it becomes more of a cultural association, I feel. That said, I could easily see someone as some kind of Atheist Zoroastrian, as the philosophy is very modular and practical, IMO (though I have always felt there is a God, so not for me, heh). =)

How do you see Ahura Mazda as he interacts with the world, and in the way he exists in (or outside) creation? How (to you) does he fit into evolution? Do you think we are a species that evolved independent of a specific design (randomly), and evolved according to the rules he set into place? Do you think he specifically set into action chains of events that would lead to our existence? Maybe from the very beginning he planned everything to happen exactly the way it did? What are your ideas? =)

(Oof, sorry for the long post!)
 

Rival

Si m'ait Dieus
Staff member
Premium Member
Agreed; for me, the original Gathas are enough. How do you folks feel about the Yasna? Better yet, how would you feel about someone who followed the whole Avesta?

I would think they are following teachings other than those of the Prophet and have mixed other religious practices where they don't fit. Especially Hindu practice such as worshipping lower "gods" (daevas) and declaring menstrual blood unclean etc. I'm not sure I'd call them Zoroastrians as such, but what else can I term it? I just call it the Parsi faith. Also, perhaps even by the time they arrived in India from fleeing Muslims in Iran, they had retained some ancient beliefs and recognised such daevas as Indra and the others. It would have been easy for them to slip into the local culture, since obviously Zoroastrianism and Hinduism share the same roots. They might have felt an affinity with the the local gods and decided to worship them, too, through historic connexion.

I read some of the Older Yasna but I don't treat it as authoritative, much in the same way as Protestants see the Deuterocanonicals of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.


Very clear cut, thank you. =) Do you have any comments on magic, syncretic beliefs, or any of the other things I mentioned above?

I think certain forms of magic are interfering with Asha, and meddling with the Cosmic Order. If you are trying to practice necromancy and such then I would definitely take issue with that. Some 'magic' is all right, because I don't see it as 'magic' as such. Potions, etc. But if one is trying to change the Cosmic Order as put in place by Ahuramazda, that is not right.

How do you see Ahura Mazda as he interacts with the world, and in the way he exists in (or outside) creation? How (to you) does he fit into evolution? Do you think we are a species that evolved independent of a specific design (randomly), and evolved according to the rules he set into place? Do you think he specifically set into action chains of events that would lead to our existence? Maybe from the very beginning he planned everything to happen exactly the way it did? What are your ideas? =)

Mazda exists outside of creation, but is not apart from it. I.e., he is, as Yhwh says: "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?" Jeremiah 23:23. He is a God at hand. He hears prayers, he chooses specific people (such as the Prophet Zarathustra) and so on. He doesn't grant miracles or signs or such, because humanity is supposed to fend for itself, so to speak.

Well, according to the faith Ahuramazda created us to help fight off the Druj, so we must be created purposefully. We evolved, or came into being, in accordance with how Ahuramazda wanted us to in order to join in the Good Fight. So yes, we are intentional.

As for what Ahuramazda knows, only He knows ;)
 
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The Emperor of Mankind

Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic
So, @Rival, @matthew_/!/ , @kiwimac, @Mazdaian, @A Greased Scotsman, and anyone else who is a Zoroastrian (or particularly slippery Zoroastrian Philosophers)...

What is the teetering point when someone who claims to be a Zoroastrian goes from being a true Zoroastrian (in your opinion), to being one in title only?

Is it when someone strays too far from the teachings of Zoroaster (or the Avesta)? Is it when someone internalizes too many elements from other religions/philosophies? Maybe the only stipulation in your mind is that they uphold good thoughts, good words, or good deeds? I'm interested in what specific things it takes to "cross the line" in your mind. =)

I'll set aside the question of what does & does not constitute a 'true' Zoroastrian to people who are better qualified than myself to answer.


In my opinion if a person incorporates the philosophical beliefs of some other religion then they are more of a title Zoroastrian rather than a 'true' Zoroastrian. (Only if the foreign belief is contradicting to the Zoroastrian faith)

That would definitely apply to me since I'm a polytheist. Sometimes I feel by having 'Zoroastrian philosophy' in my religion field, I'm laying claim to a label I have no right to. If others want to say I'm not a 'true' Zoroastrian (or even that I'm not a Zoroastrian at all) because of this then I can't argue with that.

If you'll bear with me, though, I'll explain why it's there.

I chose to add the caveat of 'Zoroastrian philosophy' because what Zoroaster wrote is so profound, regardless of what he says about the nature of deity. The idea that life is a struggle between Progressive Mind and Regressive Mind hits home because so much of what we are is mental: how we think and speak both informs & reflects our view of the world and how we act in it. Also, as someone who suffers from depression ranging from light to suicidal at times (don't worry, I get help whenever it becomes that bad. Which isn't very often), the doctrine of a struggle between good & evil, light & dark in the mind is unbelievably potent to me because that is the truth. It's the reality of what I have to go through every day of my life. From the moment I wake up there's a war in my head. How then can Zoroaster's message not be a personal philosophy; words to shape one's life around?
 
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Corthos

Great Old One
I would think they are following teachings other than those of the Prophet and have mixed other religious practices where they don't fit. Especially Hindu practice such as worshipping lower "gods" (daevas) and declaring menstrual blood unclean etc. I'm not sure I'd call them Zoroastrians as such, but what else can I term it? I just call it the Parsi faith. Also, perhaps even by the time they arrived in India from fleeing Muslims in Iran, they had retained some ancient beliefs and recognised such daevas as Indra and the others. It would have been easy for them to slip into the local culture, since obviously Zoroastrianism and Hinduism share the same roots. They might have felt an affinity with the the local gods and decided to worship them, too, through historic connexion.


Hmmm... I see your point there. =) I would imagine that it would also be difficult coming from a cultural background that was deeply rooted in tradition (like Prasis) to look at your faith more objectively... Even now, I notice that I still think/do things that are very Christan (sometimes that's good, sometimes not so much).

I read some of the Older Yasna but I don't treat it as authoritative, much in the same way as Protestants see the Deuterocanonicals of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

Same. =)

I think certain forms of magic are interfering with Asha, and meddling with the Cosmic Order. If you are trying to practice necromancy and such then I would definitely take issue with that. Some 'magic' is all right, because I don't see it as 'magic' as such. Potions, etc. But if one is trying to change the Cosmic Order as put in place by Ahuramazda, that is not right.

See, this is something I've been thinking about, lately... When I was a Christian, I would have just dismissed the notion of magic as superstition, false, pretending, or at the very most Satanically inspired. Now, I realize it's applications can have more of a real world value (placebo effect)... Given a more materialistic view of it, it seems to be more of a tool to me. If our brains are capable of this phenomenon, should it be taken advantage of?


That said, it could still become a distraction from a righteous path, or could shift the focus away from Ahura Mazda, which I refuse to do. Hmmm... Dunno. =)

Mazda exists outside of creation, but is not apart from it. I.e., he is, as Yhwh says: "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?" Jeremiah 23:23. He is a God at hand. He hears prayers, he chooses specific people (such as the Prophet Zarathustra) and so on. He doesn't grant miracles or signs or such, because humanity is supposed to fend for itself, so to speak


Thank you for that input. =)

Hmmm... I think this is something I need to study more, and figure out for myself. I wish that other book would get here soon. =/


Well, according to the faith Ahuramazda created us to help fight off the Druj, so we must be created purposefully. We evolved, or came into being, in accordance with how Ahuramazda wanted us to in order to join in the Good Fight. So yes, we are intentional.

As for what Ahuramazda knows, only He knows ;)

See, this is something I've been wondering as well. As you know, Ahura Mazda is, along with many other attributes, a God of progression. Evolution ties into this concept very easily. =) I can't help but wonder if he constructed the rules of progression in such a way where ANY creature could eventually attain perfection via evolution, and humans are just one of a possible many, or if human beings were selected specifically and designed by him for some reason... I think, if anything, this just shows my ignorance. XD
 

Corthos

Great Old One
That would definitely apply to me since I'm a polytheist. Sometimes I feel by having 'Zoroastrian philosophy' in my religion field, I'm laying claim to a label I have no right to. If others want to say I'm not a 'true' Zoroastrian (or even that I'm not a Zoroastrian at all) because of this then I can't argue with that.

If you'll bear with me, though, I'll explain why it's there.

I chose to add the caveat of 'Zoroastrian philosophy' because what Zoroaster wrote is so profound, regardless of what he says about the nature of deity. The idea that life is a struggle between Progressive Mind and Regressive Mind hits home because so much of what we are is mental: how we think and speak both informs & reflects our view of the world and how we act in it. Also, as someone who suffers from depression ranging from light to suicidal at times (don't worry, I get help whenever it becomes that bad. Which isn't very often), the doctrine of a struggle between good & evil, light & dark in the mind is unbelievably potent to me because that is the truth. It's the reality of what I have to go through every day of my life. From the moment I wake up there's a war in my head. How then can Zoroaster's message not be a personal philosophy; words to shape one's life around?

There's a lot of value in what you write (which is one reason I was hoping you'd reply to the thread). Thank you for that. =)
 

The Emperor of Mankind

Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic
A Mazdayasnian must believe in Ahuramazda/God. It sounds silly, to some, but there are some Christians who have serious doubts about God and if you are a chronic doubter I'm not sure you qualify.

Must follow the teachings of the Prophet Zarathustra, obviously.

Don't worship other Gods/the Daevas.

Is believing in Ahura Mazda of greater importance than one's own good actions in the world? I'm pretty sure you've told me this before but I'm asking again for the sake of stimulating discussion. I like this thread. People are nice to me in it.:blush:
 

Corthos

Great Old One
Is believing in Ahura Mazda of greater importance than one's own good actions in the world? I'm pretty sure you've told me this before but I'm asking again for the sake of stimulating discussion. I like this thread. People are nice to me in it.:blush:

Ok! So anyways...

No (in my humble opinion). =) Someone who is a staunch believer in Ahura Mazda, but allows himself to sink into evil thoughts, spreads verbal bile, and harms others is being detrimental to himself and/or others, and is being regressive (there's no holiness or sin, only progression and regression: positive and negative action/words). Believing in Ahura Mazda isn't some kind of "get out of jail free" card so people can do whatever the hell they want. XD It's a conscious choice to do the right thing. =)

Keep in mind that though Asho Zarathushtra's teachings are some of the oldest (and some of the first of it's kind), they are not unique in this day and age. The difference, however, is in the emphasis placed on certain aspects.

That said, Ahura Mazda is inspiring, and he's the kind of God that I can respect. I believe in him for what he is, rather than what he "says" or "commands." =)
 
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