Community is absolutely essential to Zoroastrianism.
When Zarathushtra reacted against the short-sightedness and irresponsibility of the nomadic tribes that attacked the agricultural Iranians, he took the first known stance in the history for UNIVERSALISM as opposed to tribalism. To Zarathushtra, the primary responsibility in all ethics is towards The Community, and the community is in extension global and universal rather than local and tribal.
This is the foundation on which later Zoroastrians such as Cyrus The Great built the principle of human rights, an innovation which Cyrus and his co-religionists deserve full credit. Community takes PRECEDENCE to dogmatic ideology! This, as we all know, 2,000 years later became the foundation of Democracy in Europe and America! But what to politics is merely a pragmatic necessity, is to Zoroastrianism in itself a SACRED phenomenon.
I would say that the progress towards religion-ness (the healing of social bonds) in Zoroastrianism is equal to the progress towards complete human community. By coming nearer through our social bonds (and reconciling ourselves with strangers and those who differ from us in appearances and opinions), we create not only a community but also manifest Ahura Mazda in human beings (Ronald Delavega would equal this process with us becoming more god-like, which I agree with, since it is the same thing seen from the opposite end and a correct reading of The Gathas).
Christianity picked up this idea in the concept of The Holy Spirit (as the third leg of The Trinity). So in a way we could say that Zoroastrianism gets rid of the father and the son and only keeps The Spirit from The Trinity. This is Ahura Mazda, becoming manifest (and thereby creating "religion") through the successful aliance of The Community. What use is then "the father" and "the son". Everybody is included!
Merely the fact that Zoroastrians get together socially is therefore IN ITSELF a sacred activity.
Dear Parviz, and all of you others,
Alex, Dina, Jafarey,…. who have been a good help for me (and other readers) to learn through your thought provoking discussions.
As I myself don't like (neither have the time for) to write or read long writings, Then I will try to keep it short, though I understand that often the questions are short but the answers could be long.
Any way, as for myself and where I stand, I just can say that I always find a part of "truth"in all sides and parts.
This issue of:
Religion=being together=hamazoori VS free thinkers is very interesting for me to get your ideas about, as I consider it as a basic problem/ equation for our society.
Free thinkers have always tendency to be "free" of any kind of rule/agreement which is necessary for being together/hamazoor.
How can we have rules (of course based on mutual understanding) and live upon them and at the same remain "free". And think that I am talking about a community/society based on "religion".
Your answers/ideas about this subject will be appreciated.
2008/7/18 Parviz Varjavand <email@example.com>:
Ritciousness (Righteousness) is not ReligionReligion is banding together, Hamazoori, and its symbol in Zoroastrianism is the Barsam and in Mithraism the Facias. The act of tying the individual sticks together in a Fascia was called Religare in Latin and from that word we have the word Religion.The Barsam can be tied for good or for bad. In and of itself, it has no ethical value; it only bonds participants together and makes them strong. Bad persons can get into Hamazoori and bully others. The Fascists did just that, their Facias progressed to be a Barsam of darkness rather than one for light.If the Righteous band and bond together, then their Hamazoori can be a Religion for the good. Otherwise just having Hamazoori can progress into gangsterism for the bullying of others into submission to the will of the gang and the self-righteous. The self-righteous (something that our religion is full of) are the greatest enemies of free thought. This is why in Zoroastrian religion we must be constantly on the watch for the bully, the one who wants to Dictate to us what we should or should not believe.We should not give into the Vandidad bullies as much as we should not give into the self-righteous Pristine Purist Gatha bullies. They only deserve each other; we do not deserve either of them. We deserve bright free thinkers. This is the only message I have been dedicating so much of my time and life trying to get across to my fellow Zoroastrians. (What a waste of time and life!)Ushta,Parviz Varjavand