Zoroastrianism is believed to be
one of the first monotheistic religions that has inspired all other
monotheistic religions. There are two
parts of Zoroastrianism, Parsees (followers from India), and Gabras (followers
from Iran). The followers gather their
information on this religion from The Avesta, which is the Bible of their religion.
The Avesta is a series of books
conveying the teachings of the prophet Zarathustra through hymns. In these books, he wrote about a single God,
known as Ahura Mazda. This took many
people by surprise, because his writings conveyed a single God in a time where
monotheism was not considered a thing, before The Avesta was taught, everyone believed
worshipping multiple Gods was the correct thing to do.
In most religions, people believe
in a good and evil spirit. This religion
is one of those, the evil spirit is known as “Druj” who they believe is
controlled by an Angra Mainyu, the God of darkness. The God they worship, Asha is seen as the light,
or fire. Since God is viewed as fire, it
is against their religion for a dead body to be cremated, because they believe
the cause of any persons death is because they have been “possessed” by
darkness. They do not hold funerals, or
any type of memorial for the dead because that is also considered “unruly,” instead,
the dead body is left out in the open so scavenger animals can come and feed on
the carcasses. Another belief this
religion has on death, is the persons fate is decided by the way their good and
bad actions weigh out. If a person has
more bad actions, they are believed to be sent to hell, and vice versa. They believe that in order to go to Heaven,
one must have good thoughts, good actions, and good words.
Followers of this religion are
not required to practice outside of their houses, but they can do so if they
please. There are “fire temples” that
are located widely among India and Iran for people to come and publicly worship
their religion. There is an alter that
burns in the temple to portray Asha by “burning for eternity.”
They only celebrate two main
holidays, Naw-ruz, which is like a New Years celebration, and Yalda, which is a
celebration of the winter solstice. The winter
solstice is celebrated because people of the religion believe it is a holy time
of year, because the long nights (evil), are turned into long days (holy).
There are three different
classifications of “preachers” in this religion, the highest ranking preachers
are referred to as “Dasturs.” The
Dasturs should be able to read, understand, and recite any part of the Avesta,
they can perform any type of ritual, and they are the only spiritual leaders of
this religion that can preach anywhere.
It is not certain how this
religion spread so widely, but it was believed to have been the official or the
predominant religion of three separate Middle-Eastern empires.
Two of the most distinct features
I learned about this religion is that there are only around 200,000 followers,
at most. The religion is believe to be
extinct within 100 years due to the practices and rules the followers have to
obey. Another interesting fact I
learned, is that this is one of the first monotheistic religions ever.
Jacques, Zoroasrtrianism Religion, Jan. 19, 2018
Dowley, Tim “Introduction to Worl
Religions” -Pages 92-96