Zoroastrianism questions
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05-08-2015, 07:04 AM
Zoroastrianism questions
I've often brought up Zoroastrianism in the past to show that a lot of "Christian ideas" aren't unique to Christianity, and predate the religion by hundreds of years. Your average Christian has unsurprisingly never heard of Zoroastrianism.

In a recent conversation, on Christian brought up something interesting to me I'd never heard: while Zoroaster himself is much older than Christianity, any surviving claims about his religious beliefs are newer. The Avesta (the primary collections of religious texts for Zoroastrianism) is dated at the third century CE at the earliest.

So, the basic claim is, that while Zoroaster is known to exist well before Christ, the claims of his religious teachings came about after, and likely borrowed from Christianity.

Does anyone know more about this? Are there other sources that predate Christ that talk about the religious teachings of Zoroaster?
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05-08-2015, 07:24 AM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
Sounds like some xtians watched "Back to the Future" one too many times....

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The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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05-08-2015, 07:27 AM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
We know that religions borrow from one another all the time, but given that Christianity didn't have a canonized Bible until the start of the 4th century, or much influence prior to Constantine, it's deeply hubristic to claim the Zoroastrian faith (already centuries old) would borrow from the upstart Judeo-Greek cult.

I'm not sure hubristic is a word, but if not, it should be. Christians always seem to have a hard time realizing their world dominance was earned at the point of several empires' swords, not sprung up overnight as The One True Faith™. This is surprising, given their love of the "martyr complex" by which they convince themselves that Christianity is tiny and "under attack". Hubristic!

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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05-08-2015, 07:41 AM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
Here is something that I found, though I don't know how reliable that info is:
https://www.theosophical.org/publications/1231
http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/zo...cal-review

Avesta nonwithstanding Zoroastrianism seems to be far older than christianity.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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05-08-2015, 08:40 AM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
In the article The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity, Thomas Sheehan writes on the Zoroastrian influence on the Bible:

“This recasting of Yahweh as apocalyptic destroyer was strongly influenced by the Zoroastrian religion that the Israelites had encountered during the Babylonian Exile. Zoroaster (ca. 630-550 B.C.E.) had taught that the world was the scene of a dramatic cosmic struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, led by the gods Ormazd and Ahriman. But this conflict was not to continue forever because, according to Zoroastrianism, history was not endless but finite and in fact dualistic, divided between the present age of darkness and the coming age of light. Time was devolving through four (or in some accounts seven) progressively worsening periods toward an eschatological cataclysm when Good would finally annihilate Evil and the just would receive their otherworldly reward in an age of eternal bliss. Zoroastrianism's profound pessimism about present history was thus answered by its eschatological optimism about a future eternity.
As Israel's political fortunes faded and as such Zoroastrian ideas as these took hold, Judaism shifted the focus of its religious hopes from the arena of the national and historical to that of the eschatological and cosmic, from political salvation in some future time to preternatural survival in an afterlife. This radical change can be seen in late Judaism's adoption of notions like the fall of Adam from paradisal grace at the beginning of time, the workings of Satan and other demons in the present age, and the Last judgment and the resurrection at the end of history--all of which Christianity was to take over and turn into dogmas. But the clearest sign of this absorption of Persian ideas can be found in the eschatological visions of history that surfaced in apocalyptic literature during the two centuries before Jesus began to preach.
One such apocalyptic work was the Book of Daniel, composed around 165B.C.E. during the Maccabean revolt against the oppressive Seleucid dynasty. The tyrannical King Antiochus IV, who ruled Palestine (175-03 B.C.E.) from Syria, had undertaken to force Hellenistic religion and culture on his Jewish subjects. He deposed the legitimate high priest, forbad ritual sacrifice and circumcision, plundered the Temple treasury, and, most shocking of all, set up the "Abomination of Desolation" (Daniel 11:31),an altar to Olympian Zeus, within the Temple precinct.
The Book of Daniel was written by an anonymous author in the second century B.C.E.; but in a way typical of apocalyptic works, the book purported to have been composed some four centuries earlier by a prophet named Daniel, and pretended to predict the catastrophic events that in fact were happening in the author's own lifetime. The work interpreted these events as "eschatological woes," a time of sufferings and troubles "such as never has been since there was a nation" (12:1). According to God's hidden plan, these woes marked the final stage before the destruction of the old and godless world and the final triumph of divine justice.”

Robert Price writes about this as well, in a feedback section of the Infidels.org website:

http://www.infidels.org/infidels/feedback/1997/may.html

“Here and there in the NT, Satan seems to be the enemy of God, but this is a later mixture that may well have come from Persian Zoroastrianism, to which the exile Temple hierarchy would have been exposed in the sixth century BC. Zoroastrianism had an evil anti-god called Ahriman or Angra Mainyu, the co-equalm counterpart to Ahura Mazda. Ahriman had created snakes, scorpions, etc., while Ahura Mazda created everything else. Judasim appears to have borrowed this notion, plus the elaborate angelology and demonology, as well as their notion of a virgin-born Savior who would at the end time raise the dead for the final judgment from Zoroastrianism. In fact the Jewish sect closest to Zoroastrian beliefs, the Pharisees, as T.W. Manson theorized, may originally have received their name as a sarcastic cat-call. Pharisee may be a variant on "Parsee," synonym for Zoroastrian.”

In The Skeptical Review, Farrell Till explains how the concept of a resurrection was incorporated into Jewish beliefs in an entry on Daniel and the Resurrection:

“Not until the end of the Old Testament period, after the Jews had been exposed in their exile to the idea of a general resurrection, was the hope of life after death clearly stated in the Bible. Biblical inerrantists, of course, object to the mere suggestion that an important doctrine like this was borrowed from other cultures rather than having been revealed to the Jews by their god, but even a biblical reference work as conservative as Eerdmans Bible Dictionary recognizes that the idea of resurrection to eternal life was a concept that the Jewish captives had brought back with them when they returned to Judea from their exile. The clearest such reference to a resurrection would be Daniel 12:1-3.

At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Zoroastrianism taught the concept of a general resurrection, and this religion flourished in Persia at the time of the Jewish exile. After the Jews had been repatriated, this concept, which had been unknown prior to the exile, became a widely held belief in post-exilic Judaism. The fact that Daniel is the only book in the Jewish canon to make such a clear reference to a general resurrection, although not conclusive, is certainly one more indication that this book was compiled some time after the captivity.”

In any case, the Old Testament is not obsessed with the concept of heaven and hell, but rather, the New Testament is. Although the Old Testament contains verses such as "I go to be with my Lord forever" it does not make specific references to an afterlife heaven (just to clarify, we are talking about the afterlife concept of heaven here, not the use of "heaven" to describe the firmament in the sky) and Hell until the Book of Daniel and Isaiah, and even then it only speaks of it briefly, nowhere near the amount and frequency that it does in the New Testament.

Based on the evidence of the apparent evolution of heaven and hell into the Bible, some scholars surmise that during the New Testament era, the Church found the afterlife concept to be an extremely powerful way to mind control people into submission. After all, if you can convince someone that you have the power to send that person to heaven or hell, then you can pretty much get that person to follow and obey you without question.

**Crickets** -- God
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05-08-2015, 08:56 AM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
Thanks, guys. Big Grin
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05-08-2015, 03:54 PM
RE: Zoroastrianism questions
Quote:Does anyone know more about this? Are there other sources that predate Christ that talk about the religious teachings of Zoroaster?


Xtians tell themselves lots of stupid shit to make them feel better. Personally, my favorite was always "diabolical mimicry."

Quote:But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets.


Justin, First Apology 54

They don't seem to understand that they their god looks like something of a shithead here being outwitted by every fucking "demon" who comes along.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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