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   Author  Topic: Zoroastrianism  (Read 2792 times)
Tas6
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Zoroastrianism
« on: 2009-10-30 09:48:28 »
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An interesting little article a friend sent me, who is into Zoroastrian Humanism.

By Osred

Zoroastrian Humanists believe that Humanah - the Good Mind - is the most
important thing to focus on in life. From Good Mind come naturally Good Deeds
which leads to a Good Ordering of the world and consequent health and happiness
for its inhabitants.

Zoroastrian Humanism is based on the Gospel (or Songs) of Zarathustra - the
original writings of Zoroaster.

Zoroastrian Humanists see religious concepts such as gods and wights as
potentially useful in the development of the Good Mind, but don't see them as
having any independent authority to tell people what to think and do.

The English word Humanist derives from the Iranian word used by Zoroaster adding
historical weight to the claim that it was Zoroaster who founded Humanism as a
force within western and world civilization.

---------------

Anglo-Zoroastrian Humanists have a Triad:

ARTAVISTA - the Right-joining of things

ARAMAZDA - the Wise Being that creates the good patterns of life in accordance
with Artavista

HUMANAH - the Good Mind that is the human cause of good actions and assistance
to Aramazda


Also recognised is:

SPENTAMAN - The Life-promoting Spirit (Christian Holy Spirit)

----------------------------------------
In opposition to Artavista is DREG - 'The Lie' , Error, Sin - literally 'turning
away (from the right path)'

In opposition to Humanah is AKAMANAH - the Bad Mind

In opposition to Spentaman is ANGRAMAN - the Destructive Spirit (also known as
Ahriman or Christian Satan)

---------------------------------------------

Zoroaster used the concepts of the 'House of Song' and the 'House of the Lie' to
indicate the destinations of souls who chose good or bad actions - but without
any further explanation.

----------------------------------------------

The term GOD is not specifically defined (and not necessarily used) but can be
accepted as a way of referring to what is of ultimate importance to life

---------------------------------------------

Other Zoroastrian concepts are:

SPENTARMITY - benevolent service, piety
HUKASATRA - Good Rule or Good Ordering of human settlements
HARVERTY - Health/Wholeness
AMORTY - Non-dying-ness (Christian Eternal Life)
USHTA - Happiness


Here is another interesting article I found:
http://www.vohuman.org/Article/Zoroastrianism%20in%20the%2021st%20Century.htm
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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #1 on: 2009-10-30 12:30:33 »
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i dont know what this is..but zoroastrianism is even more rabid about bloodline than judaism...which is why their numbers are dwindling every year. they reject not only those who dont marry within their community, their children will also be considered outsiders. and one cannot 'convert' to zorostrianism. its one of the oldest religions in the world and just as fucked up as the newest one.

eta: having said that...like all religions, it is interesting and its texts are worth looking at from a cultural anthropology pov...but lets not kid ourselves about zor'trian humanism because such a thing does not exist other than as an social club or some such. it has some interesting mythology..and hinduism derives plenty from zoras'trianism.
« Last Edit: 2009-10-30 12:33:32 by Mermaid » Report to moderator   Logged
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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #2 on: 2009-10-31 20:51:21 »
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I agree, I posted this for discussion only and not for in anyway shape or form to validate it.  But in a funny way it is kind of entertaining to see others reaching to come to terms with the facts and interesting study in the effects of Memetic-mutation... 

Now ready set, part 2:

Once you realise that you need Humanah - Good Mind then you need to work on developing it in yourself and encouraging or helping others to develop it.

Humanah is the Anglomazdean word - and is more or less identical to the later Persian word. However the original Avestan is Vo-hu Manah and is comprised of three roots rather than two which are: Vo=willing (cf english voluntary) Hu=Good Manah=Mind

So the Zoroastrian Good Mind is defined as the mind that wills what is good.

We recognise that Manah (mind) can be at different levels of understanding.

When Manah is at a low level there is not much potential for understanding how the world works. To encourage Humanah at this level a person might be given a set of commandments (or general good principles of living) to help them live a good life.

When Manah is at a middle-level there is some potential for understanding but it is coloured by a person's personality and unconscious assumptions. A person at this level can be helped with mythical stories and other things to help them make better sense of the world and work out the best course for themself to some extent. However the religious story they are given needs to be tailored to their personality and assumptions otherwise it can lead them off in the wrong direction.

When Manah is at a high level a person has overcome their delusions, self-centredness and blind assumptions. They have the potential to develop a clear and detailed model of the workings of the world and use that model to decide what is the best thing for them to do in any particular situation. Of course they will also be aware that their world-model at any time may not be perfect - and so they will still continue to cross-refer their own ideas to the tried-and-tested good principles of living of their culture.

In contrast to the diverse outlooks of people with low or middle-level Manah, those with high-level Manah - who see reality clearly - will tend to have a similar outlook to everybody else with high-level Manah (although there is some variation depending on what people have focussed their attention on).

There are different paths to develop Humanah - especially
1. The path of learning good principles of living and getting practised at employing them.
2. The path of development of the character of the mind - its clarity , subtlety, sensitivity, focus, typical emotional state etc.

At a lower-level this development should be encouraged by the culture of the society - the practices both secular and religious that people typically engage in, the kind of cultural materials they are exposed to etc. Most obviously the way children are educated and brought up affects the development of their minds.

Sometimes a mind can develop to a higher level without any specialist outside help - but this is rare. Normally a person needs to engage in a specialist practice of a kind we can call 'endosophism' - i.e. developing inner wisdom.

The traditional practices of gnosticism, buddhism, hindu yoga and sufism are all variations of endosophism. Zoroastrians would tend to have a preference for Sufism - as this is the Persian endosophism. The homeland of Sufism was in the Eastern Iranian lands of Bactria-Khorasan - the same lands that Zoroaster taught in.

Osred.
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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #3 on: 2009-11-13 09:22:49 »
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Part 3

My answer to what he says is to point out that religions are not monolithic
things. You have religious texts and remembered history and you have particular
communities and schools of thought which create a living practice out of them.
(i.e. a religion can have multiple denominations)

The Parsis of India (the world's most high-profile Zoroastrian community) is
particulary exclusive because if they weren't then they would have disappeared
into the general Indian population long ago. Similarly Iranian Zoroastrians
refuse to take in religious outsiders so as to avoid offending their Muslim
neighbours.

Admittedly even before that historical Zoroastrianism was an exclusively Iranian
religion. This is because historical Zoroastrianism is actually a syncretic
combination of Zoroastrian humanist philosophy (i.e. Zoroaster's own message)
and Iranian pagan culture.

However Zoroastrian Humanists (of which there is an international community -
albeit mainly on the Internet and not using the Humanist label) have gone back
to fundamentals - and split off the humanist part of Zoroastrianism from the
ethnically specific pagan part. This is easy to do as it is quite clear which
part of the scriptures are Zoroaster's own composition and these are abstract
and universal in tone.

Zoroastrian Humanists share much in common with Secular Humanists - but
differences are:
1. We look to Zoroaster rather than Darwin as a key figure.
2. We have an unchallenged founding religious text.
3. We consider ourselves part of a movement that goes back thousands of years.
We consider movements such as gnosticism, buddhism and sufism as children
fathered by Zoroastrian humanism (though the 'mother' brought in other
influences).
4. We don't put so much emphasis on evolution although we do have the idea that
mankind should be going somewhere.
5. We are more tolerant of the concept of God - some Zoroastrian Humanists will
use it others won't. However we are strongly against superstition.
6. We are happy to be considered a religion - secular humanists tend to deny
they are religious while taking on many of the same trappings as overtly
religious people.
7. We consider the word Humanist refers to Good Mind (i.e. like English word
'humane') and not related to the word for human being. This is a late confusion
caused by the similarity of the latin words humanus (humane) and hominis
(human).
8. There is a strong ethical focus on the dualistic battle between the Good and
Evil forces or movements in the world.
9. Our purpose in life is to support the creation of the the Good World Order.
10. In my view (though not necessarily with other Zoroastrians I talk to) there
should be a strong emphasis on developing the Good Mind in oneself and not
assuming that just because you are a Humanist you will have a better mind than
other people who identify themselves differently. (i.e. ultimately virtue comes
from being humane rather than a humanist - though hopefully the latter should
lead to the former)

Zoroastrian Humanists are not necessarily free from prejudice any more that
Secular Humanists some of whom just want to have a go at Christians without
doing anything very constructive themselves.

However Zoroastrian Humanism has a robust ethical framework that has stood the
test of time and a long history and rich tradition that can be tapped into.
Secular Humanists lack this which makes them more prey to being swayed by modern
fashions.


Osred.



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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #4 on: 2009-11-13 14:58:57 »
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[Tas6] However Zoroastrian Humanism has a robust ethical framework that has stood the test of time and a long history and rich tradition that can be tapped into.

[Tas6] Secular Humanists lack this which makes them more prey to being swayed by modern fashions.

[Hermit] I am confused as to why Tas6 makes this claim and wonder what evidence he considered in order to reach this conclusion, why, and this is his conclusion, he considers Zoroastrian to provide a "robust ethical framework" and how he reached what appears to be a buried assumption that "modern [ethical?] fashions" are less desirable than old ones, when all the evidence seems to me to point in the opposite direction. To assist in determining that we share a vocabulary and background, let me add the following information about my stance.

[Hermit] Ethics are reflective, not reflexive. (Refer Virian Ethics: The Soul in the Machine and the Question of Virian Ethics). As such, ethics always incorporate "modern fashions" and given that humanism and modern ethics developed more or less in parallel, in my eyes, this is not a bad thing.

[Hermit] I have read the Wikipedia article and discussion and peer review on Zorastrism. This increased my scepticism about Tas6's claims.

[Hermit] It seems fairly evident that while Zoroastism, as a received religion, provides all the utility (establishing memetic hooks allowing the trivial manipulation of people self-identifying as adherents) of other reflexive religions (and this is not in any way a virtue in a Virian sense), it has, like any religion with active followers, adapted and conformed to its environment over time. Quoting from the Wikipedia article
    Present-day Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions (the only significant schism is based on calendar differences), but it is not monolithic. Modern-era influences have a significant impact on individual/local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes complementing tradition and enrichening it, but sometimes also displacing tradition entirely.


[Hermit] Would Tas6 kindly attempt to support (provide references) and sustain (explain the thinking behind) his preceding assertions.
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Re:Zoroastrianism( these are not my assertions)
« Reply #5 on: 2009-11-14 22:36:24 »
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For one, these are not my assertions or views (as I stated in part one), but those of my friend Osred of the English Folk Church. I lay no claim as to agree to any of what he has said. I just thought it was an interesting example of memetic-mutation. My views run counter to Zoroastrianism and lends more to a robust Left-Handed Path Atheism... heavily influenced by the C.o.S., the S.o.D. and the C.o.V...  I can not claim nor would I, the material, as I personally do not agree with its' foundation or theism.   

I apologize for any misunderstanding,

Tas6 
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ps. I can ask my friend to lend sources to his claims if you wish.
« Last Edit: 2009-11-14 22:40:18 by Tas6 » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #6 on: 2009-11-15 04:32:58 »
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Clarification appreciated. It certainly was not apparent to me that the paragraph I addressed was a quotation rather than Tas6's words.
Tas6, please don't bother your friend; all responses take time which I don't have much of and that little I have is far too precious to spend on people not feeding at the tables of the CoV. I think that the flaws in the material you cited have been sufficiently illuminated to provide an opening for anyone interested to recognize the erroneous assumptions implicit in them - which is all that I was hoping to achieve.
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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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Re:Zoroastrianism
« Reply #7 on: 2009-11-15 10:53:41 »
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As you wish Hermit. As for my friend Osred, he's a good man, though I can't agree with him on much, I still feel that my life has been enriched by his presence (though only via the web), as I feel toward you and others here on the CoV BBS. He like myself  (and all I have met here) I consider "Striving Men/Women," those who have taken upon themselves to understand to their ability who they are and what life is to them...

Tas6

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