In the Zoroastrian religion, the fundamental problem is the cosmic strogle between good and evil. Evil is repersented by an evil entity know as Angra Mainyu and good by an supreme god know as Ahura Mazda. It is also blived that falowers can chage the outcome (or at least infuclude the speed ) of the war bettwen good and evil by the choice they make in every day life.
“Evil, Zarathushtra asserts, is not all-powerful or eternal, but to assure the victory of not all-powerful or eternal, but to assure the victory of good over evil, humans must dedicate themselves as spiritual warriors on the side of Spenta Mainyu.”1 This choice btween siding ones self with Ahura Mazda or Angra Mainyu is the driving force for the war between good and evil and the choice each individual makes will effect there destination affter the final jugement at the end of the strogle.
The ideal state in Zoroastrianism is that of bring ones thoughts, words and deeds to that witch is good. This alginment to that witch is good helps serve Ahura Mazda and the side of good as well as to pass the fianl jugments both when one dies and when then war between good and evil comes to an end. “With the help of all individuals who choose goodness over evil, the world will gradually reach a state of perfection in which all souls, living or dead, are liberated forever from evil.”1
The path of good is accomplished threw good thoughts, words and deeds as well as devotion and service to Ahura Mazda. Also Zarathushtra thought that acts in the name of religon that lacked love where helping evil and that all things should be done threw love.
Since Zoroastrianism is centored around moral dualish, the most sacred comes in the form of moral and ritual purity and a life of moral good deads. Also since Zoroastrianism is monotheistic, there is also great importance in worshiping the one supreme god, Ahura Mazda, and the good spirits. To help this moral and ritual purity, purification rituals are done witch mostly revolve around water. “Water is venerated as a means or symbol of purification. The devout will often dip their fingers into water, apply it to their eyes and forehead, and raise their handss in prayer to Ahura Mazda.”2
How Reality is Ordered
In Zoroastrianism human reality is the battle gorunds for the cosimic war between good and evil. This war is directly effect by the choice each person makes in ever day life, althougth it is assumned that in the end good will eventualy win out over evil. “There is no eternal hell in Zoroastrianism, for good is ultimately victorious. With the help of all individuals who choose goodness over evil, the world will gradually reach a state of perfection in which all souls, living or dead, are liberated forever from evil.”3 Tho all souls will be resurcted at the end of the strogel, it is still blived that one is jugged during there life and affter death, not by god but by the natura laws of the univieuers, and that this juggment effects the outcome of the events in your life as well as your affter life.
Rituals and Practices
As with many religions, rituals are centric to Zoroastrianism and the purification of the soul. In the purification rituals, water is sybolic of purification and fallowers will place there fingures in water, then there eyes and forehead in prase of the allmighty Ahura Mazda. Another ritual witch is one of the most impornt is the wearing of a cord called a kusti on the torsoe. The kusti is retided serval times threw out the day while a prayer is resighted to keep fend off evil. The kusti is repsentive of ones alignment to Ahura Mazda. The Zoroastrian practices of disposing of the body after death may be one of the most interesting rituals of the relgion, where the body is taken to the “Tower of Silencee” witch is a tower that has no roof on the top floor. This opeing is ment for vultures and other brids, so they can enter and strip the bones clean. Althougth odd this ritual has a lot of logic to it and is done to alow the disposal of body in a way that is not destructive to the envieroment or consoming resuroces.
Zarathushtra, the founder and creator of Zoroastrianism, is blived to have lived around 1100 to 550 BCE and is blived to be one of the greast figgues of the time by some philosophers. It is also blived that during his life Zarathushtra whent threw training to be a priest of an indoguesrealgion from his region and spent many years in spiritual retreat in till he finaly had a vision witch lead him to Ahura Mazda thous his creation of Zoroastrianism. Althougth Zarathushtra tried despreatly to spread his relgion and conivce others to falow him, he had litte luck untill he befrened king Vishtpa who he was able to sawy to his blifes and declared it the state relgion.
Zoroastrians believe that our acotions in life directly effect the chance one has to go to “the Kingdom of Light” (heaven) or will be throw in to the “House of the Lie” (hell). “The greater the goodness, the wider the bridge to heaven.....The greater the accumulated evil, the narrower the bridge....”3 This jugement is not done by Ahura Mazda but by natural law. Athougth evil acts will cast one in to hell at the time of there death, this hell is not eternal and both the living and dead will be brougth in to a state free of evil once Ahura Mazda is victorious.
Influence on the West
Tho Zoroastrianism is not well know in the western world, it is blived to have had drasticaly infucded on wester relgions therw Judaism. It is curntly thougth that during the time Zoroastrianism was in the same areas of devloping Judaism, it gave the consecpts of “a cosmic struggle”, “a hierarchy of angels”, “the immortal soul”, judgment after death, “polarity of heaven and hell”, “an apocalyptic end of time” and “a final universal bodily resurrection”. All of witch where not present in Judaism befor it's intreactions with Zoroastrianism and where spread to other wester relgions threw Judaism such as chrisitanity.
Zoroastrianism is hevaly based on the duality of good and evil and makes the asomption that all thougths, deads and actions fall in to one of thess and that the cosmos is divided along thess lines such that everything is either good or evil. How ever not erything and every one in our reality is on the polls of good and evil and in fact very few if any peoleop are. A good example that poeleop do not have to make a “nescessary choice” between good and evil is the Jainist and budist relgion witch do not strive to be moraly good but rather to be netural and not go to one poll or the other, witch whould causes an inblance in karma. Also this Zoroastrian idea gose agisted the junging theroy of opisists witch sugests that the natural state of being is inbtween the poals and that striving to go to one side will eventualy bring about the other. Also Zoroastrianism claims to be monotheistc but still has muptial entiyes with sprital powers that can be traced back to eraler inudguens and hinud gods.