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Date: 30 Sep 1998
Chris> I read your post with great interest. I come from a religiously-mixed background (mother Jewish, father Christian, husband Hindu) and find that Zoroastrianism is the common thread linking them all.
Amir> Although there exist a common belief that the Semetic religions have been influenced by Zartosht's teachings, there is a fundamental difference between two school of toughts. Semetic religions reports the so-called miracles, since Zartosht refrained from such things. His teachings are substanially simpler, more consistent (conroversy-free) and timeless.
Chris> I, too, cherish the commandments to observe good thoughts, good words and good deeds, and to keep the 4 elements pure.
Amir> Well, in practice it's not a trivial task. It takes lots of energy and it's a matter of many years (depending on the person) to reach a level to be consistent with all of these. Besides, sometimes the environment imposes the violation of these codes that is beyond our control.
Chris> I am searching now for my own way to approach God, and keep turning back to Zoroastrianism for the purity and simplicity of its message; it is a very reasonable faith, and not much of a stretch for me to accept, coming from a monotheistic background.
Amir> Unlike Semetic religions, Zartosht teaches that the Wise-Lord Ahura-Mazda has NOT created the devil (Ahriman). There for in his doctorine there are a dualistic pair of forces in the universe struggling against each other. This very science-compatible since we observe that in our universe the events occur as the result of interaction between two (often opposite poles) elements. But the Semetic religions attribute everything to a single God who is also the creator of bad and evil. Zartosht believed that Ahura-Mazda per definition can not create the Evil but fights against it.
Chris> But I've found most religions to have kind of a "tribal" identity built in, and if you're not born into the "tribe", you will never be accepted. Fear of this exclusion keeps me from pursuing involvement in this lovely faith.
Amir> You must know what you want to acheive. If your goal is to socialize with a group of people then there are all kinds of clubs, churches etc... But if you want to learn and practice a phylosophy, then normally it's a matter of personal research and study. Attending such religious meetings is more for social events, charity, partner finding, etc. Besides, in those meetings you will receive a biased information about the content of the faith while you should study and understand by yourself.
Chris> How does one find like-minded believers, who understand that Zarathustra's message was universal and not just for the benefit of a particular ethnic group? Can I be Zartoshti without participating in group liturgies, or attending a temple (which I would never be allowed to enter)?
Amir> Absolutely. Again despite my tremendous efforts no one has ever been able to show me any evidence or proof that Zartosht has advocated that his teachings are ment exclusively for Iranian Zartoshtis. In historical context and specially after the Arab conquest and horrific massacres of Zartoshtis by Muslems, the Iranian Zartoshtis developed such ideas and culture. From other hand, in present day India there are many Parsis who by no means look like an Iranian. That means that there have been intermengling among their ancestors. So, if a native Indian can become Zartoshti, I don't see any reason why you can't!
I emphasize the fact that learning Zartosht's teachings is a personal task and his teachings are cut and clear that you don't need someone interpret them for you. The main idea is not to learn his songs in the Avestan language. The objective is to learn his teachings and apply them to the modern time. Unfortunately, throughout the history, the clergy has emphasized to preserve those songs in the original language rather than teaching the concepts to the mankind.
Chris>I visit the Zarathustrian Assmebly page daily, and often check here for new posts. I look forward to the posting of your article/book, and would be interested in hearing your response to my queries.
Amir> I hope this info will help you to find yuor way. Don't worry about conversion and permission and belonging to a certain group. Go and find out the power of his teachings and soon you will see the light that conquers the darkness.