The pattern we have seen develop over the last few years is that there are two main interpretations of contemporary Zoroastrianism:
- There is a more eastward-looking "cultural" Zoroastrianism connecting the religion to its Eastern relatives like Brahmanism and Zen Buddhism. This version sees Zoroastrianism as a pantheistic and monist faith. It holds Zarathushtra and The Gathas in the highest regard but focuses on the fact that The Gathas is a collection of poems/songs within a larger cultural context and which should therefore be read metaphorically and in spirit rather than literally and in word.
- There is equally a more westward-looking "theological" Zoroastrianism closer connecting the religion to its Western relatives like Islam, Christanity and Judaism, even seeing Zoroastrianism as the inspiration for the latter. This version sees Zoroastrianism as a monotheistic and dualist faith. It naturally holds Zarathushtra and The Gathas in the highest regard but focuses on The Gathas as the literal foundation of Zoroastrianism, preferring to understand The Gathas literally and in word rather than metaphorically and in spirit.
Naturally, there are also several other varieties, but they are all chiefly in between the two "extremes" I have presented above. Dina McIntyre has for example presented a "panentheistic" variety of our faith, to my understanding mixing the two main interpretations, which is most interesting.
The good thing though is that there is these days a general understanding that both main interpretations of the religion can be viewed as correct and in accordance with both The Gathas and Zoroastrian history in general. So we can all definitely get along under one and the same roof. The ultimate evidence of this is that the two main interpretations seem to be equally popular both within our Iranian and Indian communities and have ancient and credible origins. So there is even more of a reason to combine the two under one organisational roof.
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2008/7/20 Kamran Jamshidi <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
Dear AlexI will do that, but the main reason I have taken this matter to the group is that1- I believe that the group's (more individuals) thought/ideas can help to solve more problems2- This way more will feel themselves active and engaged3- The ideas/interpretations which are actively discussed here are from the different "walks" of "Z"and this kind of diversity with its counterparts among community members could help us to makebetter decisions.Any way, I personally welcome different ideas but strongly recommend for uniting these ideas under one paraply.RegardsKamran2008/7/20 Alexander Bard <email@example.com>:
I don't think we should speculate at this stage at this group, but rather we should all wait for your report from your conference and hear what your friends and colleagues have to say on these matters.
With great anticipation
Alexander2008/7/20 Kamran Jamshidi <firstname.lastname@example.org>:Dear all: Alex, Dina, Jafarey, Mehran, Parviz, Zaneta ...Thank you all for taking the time to answer my question.These are my conclusions from you words, which I agree with:1- "Freedom" is absolutely something to respect and preserve.2- Community is essential to Z. which is in extension global and universal.3- Free thinkers can band together and be strong through Hamazoori.4- Z. encourages a direct relationship between God (I read Mazda) and each individual.At the same time:5- There needs to be rules for the social interaction to work and a doctrine to follow6- There have to be some parameters which govern a religion, to give it identity7- There would be some limitations in any community/societyNow my further wonderings:A) In our Z community, WHO (in plural) and HOW are legimited enough to put forward the "rules", "parameters", "limitations"B) Which "doctrine" should all follow which is "true" and doesn't lead to anarchy and destructive divisions.Dear all:As I expereince and percieve, Our tiny community (though with great potential) is going through a very "special" faze. I really believe that either we are going to decline to a certain "death" or we (this good daena, whether Zartoshti or Mazda Yasna or ...) will expand to its righthous place and bless the humanity on this earth of ours.But for the latter to happen, we have to organize us and act systematically and organized. It is time to:- Accept and appreciate the freedom of though and diversity.- Stablish and agree on a basic doctrine.- Organize us internationally and act uopn it.In coming days I am joining a gathering of some of Zs in Europe. I shall talk to as many Zs as I can to undesrtand better the people's thoughts and ideas.If I get more responses to my wonderings, will get back to you.With love and logicKamran