Zoroastrianism.

How are we as Catholics suppose to view this ancient faith which only has around 150,000 adherents left world wide. The Bible seems to have a favorable view of Zoroastrians. The most notable example is probably the Magi who presented Jesus with their gifts soon after his birth and worshipped him. They were most likely Zoroastrian priest. Also, there is a great possibility King Cyrus the Great was Zoroastrian, and obviously the Old Testament speaks highly of him for his aid to the Jewish people during and after the Babylonian exile. Zoroastrianism also shares so many striking commonalities with us Abrahamics. Is it possible that Zoroastrianism might have a hint of divine inspiration to it? Is is possible the historical Zoroaster, whenever he lived and whoever he was, may have had come into contact with God?

This was a heavily debated topic even in the ancient days.

Some secular scholars speculate for instance that the Jews received their Messiah concept from encountering some form of Zoroastrianism.

Even in Islam, after Mohammed made his statement about the People of the Book (Jews, Us, and the Sabians), upon encountering the Zoroastrians he accepted jizya from them because he couldn’t deny he encountered a divine faith as opposed to the other indigenous religions of the Middle East.

No formal statement about Zoroastrians will ever be given by the Vatican - there are just too few of them at this point. But I’ve seen enough private opinion from scholars which can’t help but follow in your inclination.

To me they are Lost Cousins, there is just no means for us to do a Paternity test :wink:

Well put!

It’s a very interesting faith and one that is very ancient. Their liturgical language is Avestan (Middle Persian). They do seem to share quite a few concepts with Abrahamic religions, so much that one can’t help but wonder if there was some cultural borrowing going on.

With so few adherents, one has to wonder if it will still be around say 200 years from now. Hopefully so.

Zoroastrians eschatology includes belief in the universal resurrection of the dead, and scholars actually believe that Zoroastrian and Abrahamic resurrection of the dead did indeed develop independently from each other without much influence. It seems to me that in recent years the notion that there was “cultural borrowing” between Judaism/Christianity and Zoroastrianism has died down a bit among scholars. I do think it’s a possibility that there may have been some influence on each other, but not to the extent as scholars in the past have held. More evidence is surfacing showing how Abrahamic and Zoroastrian theology developed independently from each others. Still, it is remarkable how much we have in common with each other theologically. If I didn’t know any better I might say Zoroastrianism is Abrahamic. But that is not the case.

I was once very fascinated with Zoroastrianism and read all I could get my hands on about the religion. I wondered if it was ancient enough to have roots before the last ice age, since it considers fire sacred and has the world covered in snow instead of water in their version of the flood narrative.

The one thing that turned me off the whole religion was the fact that one of their sacraments involves drinking/using purified and consecrated urine from a bull. According to this article it is supposed to be very clean, but I still find the idea repulsive and barbaric.

It could be, and might even be likely that zoroastrianism influenced judaism at a point in time, but I guess it would be difficult to prove for sure. Sometimes similar ideas arise in separate cultures.

In the Baha’i Faith which originated in Persia we observe Naw-Ruz which is Zoroastrian in origin… and the Founder of the Faith Baha’u’llah was believed to be a descendant of the Sassanid rulers of Persia… Baha’is recognize Zoroaster as a Manifestation of God.

bahai-library.com/buck_bahaullah_zoroastrian_saviour

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.