Is anyone familiar with this ancient middle-eastern religion that predates Islam? It seems to me that it was a very peaceful religion, and even seems to reach out to the Holy Spirit. It seems to me to be entirely based on the Holy Spirit. What do you think?
It is a beautiful religion indeed.
Zoroaster made a beautiful prophecy:
“When a thousand two hundred and some years have passed from the inception of the religion of the Arabian, and the overthrow of the kingdom of Iran and the degradation of the followers of My religion, a descendant of the Iranian kings will be raised up as a Prophet.”
(Zoroaster - Dinkird)
This predicted the coming of the Baha’u’llah. Many here would be very interested to see that Zoroaster also predicted, in similar clarity, the coming of the Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad…
You will find some interesting dialogue here, relating to all Faiths in Zoroastrian Scripture:
I read an historical novel by Gore Vidal (rest in peace) called creation, zorastrianism is a prominent part of that book.
All I can remember 25 years later is that the Zorastrinians were accused of fire, and thier god was called Ahura Mazda, like the car.
You might check out that book, even if it is out of print it may be re-realsed with Vidal’s death.
Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Sassanid Empire, and is still practiced by small groups of people in Iran. Most Muslim schools of theology consider them to be in the same category of “People of the Book” that contains Christianity and Judaism.
Its origins are obscure, and I’m not too familiar with their theology. I know that it does teach a clear dichotomy between Good and Evil, and I’m sure its philosophy of good and evil would be a fascinating study.
I purchased an expensive book several years ago concerning Zorastrianism…it was an invlolved and difficult read.
The origins range from 900BCE to 5000BCE…but it centers around the teachings of a Persian prophet Zoroaster. Judaism was heavily influenced by Zorastrianism during the Captivity. The Judeo/Christian concepts of “satan” find it’s beginnings in the Zorastrian influence on Judaism.
It is a dualistic faith…the “Good God” Ahura Mazda is at odds with his “Shadow Self” Ahriman…both are equally balanced in power and authority…but one day Ahura Mazda will prevail against His Shadow Self.
Sacred Fire plays an important part in it’s theology…when a large group of Zorastrians migrated to India, they took an overland route as in order to cleanse and santify the new temple, the Sacred Fire had to be carried overland as it could not be moved over water…the Sacred Fire is kept burning perpetually in the Temple.
A misconception by Christians is that they worhip the Sacred Fire…but it is venerated as the true symbol of Ahura Mazda who is Holy Cleansing Fire Itself.
The Catholic Church keeps a lit fire near the tabernacle, and when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, they were said to have had “tongues of fire”.
I honestly believe there is some sort of connection between the Holy Spirit and Zoroastrianism. It’s a peaceful religion -I think it deserves recognition.
Zoroastrianism was probably the first religion to deal with good and evil.
Much of Judaism/Christianity/Islam’s dualism has it’s roots in Zoroastrianism. The “war between light and darkness”…the “Good God” vs the “Evil God”…rewards and punishments.
Also the State religion of the Achaemenid Persian Empire…!
Like the Catholic Church’s use of Latin, the Zoroastrian religion seems to have used its own “dead” language which was called Avestan, which may have derived from the ancient Yaz culture.
Indeed, the Sassanids were a later Persian dynasty (they were conquered by the Arab Muslims). The Achaemenids are famous for their frequent wars with the Greek, popularized by accounts of Thermopylae.
It all just goes to show how interconnected the ancient and classical Middle East truly was. As Publisher has mentioned, much early Jewish (and thus Christian) thought was influenced by the Zoroastrians, who in antiquity were constantly at war with the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks, of course, supplied much of the philosophical framework used by early Christian theologians (and even some of the authors of New Testament works). So much connection, despite the fact that Zoroastrian Persia and ancient Greece and Rome were almost constantly at war.
Regarding language: it is not atypical for a religion to adopt a “dead” or particularly formal language for religious purposes, but this is not usually intentional; rather, it’s simply the language of its historical scriptures. Sanskrit is significant in Hinduism, and “Fusha” is the particularly formal version of Arabic used in the Qur’an and religious/philosophical texts. Avestan of course is written in the Avesta.
What is rather interesting about Latin/Western Catholicism is that it does not use the language of its own scriptures as its particular religious language. That’s a particularly unique and interesting historical phenomenon, but off-topic from this particular thread.
I have never heard of Zoroastrianism. I have learned a lot from this thread, thank you for starting it. It is very interesting.
I will admit I thought I was going to read about a religion based on:
I was happy to see it wasn’t
Ummmm…all of this is nice but doesn’t the fact that this religion is now so obscure that most of the world has never heard of it demonstrate that it lacks the fullness of the truth of God? It sounds like it has some nice statements concerning good and evil and all that but I’m just surprised that no one is making any comments about some obvious differences- like Jesus and the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith? Learn about the traditions of faith around the world and respect all people but we are called to share the fullness of faith and nothing should be put on he same level as what Jesus established in the New Covenant.
Also- Satan isn’t a “concept” from the Jewish faith- Jeus speaks of our enemy the Devi who prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Jesus encounters a person I the desert- not a “concept.”. There is a adversary in the world who is the father of lies. Maybe other religions were aware of Satan and had a measure of the truth, but I’d like to save my praise of religion celebrating the fullness of faith.
Probably I am totally misunderstanding the point of this thread in the first place.
No one here is Zoroastrian; I don’t think anyone is claiming that it possesses the fullness of truth.
I’d hesitate to call Zoroastrianism obscure. It’s rather remarkable that a religious tradition has lasted as long as 8000 of years, and survived the Muslim conquest and the modern-day Islamic Republic.
It sounds like it has some nice statements concerning good and evil and all that but I’m just surprised that no one is making any comments about some obvious differences- like Jesus and the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith?
Well that’s just it… the differences are obvious. Of course a non-Christian religion doesn’t believe in the Eucharist
Learn about the traditions of faith around the world and respect all people
Probably I am totally misunderstanding the point of this thread in the first place.
I think you just clarified your misunderstanding yourself!
To be honest, I havent even read anything about Zoroastrianisms belief in the afterlife, perhaps they did have doctrine on it but I haven’t seen it. But it seems clear to me that the Holy Spirit has always tried to guide His children towards Truth… Remember, the Holy Spirit has been active since the beginning -during the creative act.
The most famous member of this religion most people will probably know is the late Freddie Mercury whose real name was Farrokh Bulsara .
Nah the Fox is a Catholic of course and the original person the character of Zorro is based on is a fellow countryman of mine. As a piece of extreme trivia Zorro is usually the movie Bruce Wayne was watching with his parents on the night they were killed when DC comics choses to retell his origin.
I actually find the case that Zoroastrianism influenced the development of Judaism tends to be overstated. To establish a good case for one religion influencing another certain requirements need to be met. First, the similarity in question needs to be a real similarity. Second, there needs to a place where the two religions would interact. I am not too familiar with Zoroastrianism, but I can speak on a general level about the similarities. There are two proposed similarities between Judaism and Zoroastrianism: the figure of Satan and the dualism of good and evil. There are other ways for the Satan figure to develop in Judaism apart from Zoroastrianism; on the other hand, these two religions are the only two we know in the Ancient Near East which can be said to have true morality. I have my doubts, but let us say for the sake of argument that there is a real similarity between Zoroastrianism’s and Judaism’s morality.
But we still must establish a plausible way for Zoroastrianism to affect the development of Judaism. There is so much uncertainty about when Zoroaster lived, and when his religion came to dominance (if ever) over its area in Ancient Iran. But even if it was well established as the top religion by the time of rise of the Persian Empire, it still is doubtful that it could have had much affect on Judaism. Persia is a long way away from Palestine and never really attempted to dominate the culture the way the Greeks did. Cyrus did conquer Babylon but then he let the Jews return to the land. Of course certain Jews remained in Babylon, but this developed into a sect which had noticeable distinctions from the sects in Palestine. Furthermore, the moral aspects of Judaism were probably very much already in development by the time they went into the exile.
In my opinion, there is no plausible link between Judaism and Zoroastrianism. There is no real reason to say there is either, unless you are trying to find a natural cause for the rise of moralism in Judaism. Now as to that God may have allowed the dominance of Zoroastrianism in order to help facilitate the future spread of the Gospel, this is entirely possible. We do serve a great God.
The beliefs in the Messiah and the Resurrection from the dead pretty clearly come from Zoroastrianism.
No. Just… No. The “degradation of the followers of” Zoroastrianism happened sometime around the 800’s AD, when Zoroastrianism was nearly eliminated by Islam. Baha’u’llah came in about 1000 years after that event, way shorter than 2200 years after.
Without evidence it is not clear from where such beliefs came. Similarity, even virtual identity, of beliefs is not evidence for dependency. This is a fallacy Dr. John Walton (very respected in the comparative ancient near east religions) likes to call “parallelomania.”