Comparative Religions Chapter 8 Response–Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that formed in Iran sometime between 1800 and 1500 BCE and was the official religion of the region for more than 1000 years. Some scholars believe the Zoroastrian religion to be the conduit between the many religions that emerged across Europe and Asia; this is due to the hodgepodge of typical belief archetypes the religion shows that may have been the result of it being influenced by other Euro-Asia religions and the signs of its own influence found in other religions. Living Religions lampshades the roles the Zoroastrian religion has played throughout the ages as a cameo of sorts, playing various bit parts across a wide range of medium while its own headliner takes a backseat; Zoroastrianism may take a permanent backseat as it is stated that active Zoroastrian practice has dwindled to below 200,000 registered followers across the globe, for perspective Census.gov estimates the total world population of humans at over seven billion! Whereas other “Eastern” religions, such as Hinduism, had a traditional pantheon of deities or a similar polytheistic archetype, Zoroastrianism focuses on a single, more omnipotent creator deity that is the universal source of all things “good” with a significantly less omnipotent deity that played the role of the token source of all things “evil”; this archetype of “good” versus “evil” is similar to that of other monotheistic religions, as seen in the relationship between the Christian “God” and “Satan”.

As a whole the Zoroastrian religion seems to be a mold breaker for religions that spawned in the Euro-Asia part of the world as it features; an attempted meld of the typically revered deities of the Hindu faith into a pair of conflicting deities, a “heaven and hell” formula based on individual actions, the premise that suffering is not eternal even in the aforementioned “hell”, a combination of the nature preservation practices typical to the Indigenous and Shinto religions, and a basis on equality of man and woman not frequently seen until several centuries later. Zoroastrianism also has its share of falters due to; it having a combination of several key aspects found in other religions it was generally easier for Zoroastrians to convert to the religious demands of the state and invading forces, the need to revise the entire foundation of the religion due to widespread forces conversion due to invaders and state policy and the resulting change in the central practice to India, and a later attempt at becoming xenophobic to prevent outside influence resulting in the loss followers due to excommunication. The main folly of this religion seems to be its failed attempts to stay relevant in modern times while in competition with the evolving religions of the world, religions that were, ironically, in all likelihood influenced by it in the past; another major reform or an extinction may face the Zoroastrian religion before the end of the next could of centuries are through. However, thanks to modern archiving abilities the Zoroastrian religion may live on through records and historical preservation.

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