Thank you for your great and thoughtful postings!
I agree with Ron that we should use the term Abrahamic religions and not refer to Semitic religions. Religions are not related to any race or geographic location but belong to traditions of thought and this also includes Bahai as an Abrahamic rather than a Semitic religion. Zoroastrianism is then of course originally a pagan-reformist religion and not Abrahamic.
I would say that what UNITES all Zoroastrians is that we agree that what Zarathushtra presented - and the tradition of thinking that he came from - is that religion is a matter of a LIVING practice and most of all an ATTITUDE towards life and existence. And this attitude of joy is the imperative we are obliged to adher to throughout our lives. This is why we do not have a set of rules we are supposed to adher to, to please a God who will then judge us (the way the Ten Commandments are supposed to turn us into perfect robots) but rather nurture an attitude towards life (and as a community we should then support and strengthen this attitude among ourselves). Zarathushtra was the first existentialist: We are what we think (and thinking is sacred in itself), we become what we speak, what we speak determines how we act, which in return affects our minds. So we should identify ourselves with our thoughts, words and actions and see this as a sacred whole not be degraded with a destructive mentality (or rather, a hatred or disrespect towards existence).
As for the dogmatic discissions, we can go on and on for years about the exact meanings of Gathic verses or present arguments for both Pantheism, monism, Monotheism and dualism, to take an example. But to Zarathushtra these arguments are always minor and even should be open to continous debate (as a part of our constructive and joyful fascination with the world). What unites us is actually our disiniterest in moralism and our focus instead on maintaining and nurturing a constructive mentality (to live in accordance with Asha). This is why Zarathushtra was NOT interested in forcing people to adher to HIS religion but rather to live in accordance with THE truth and enjoy their existence and see life itself as a sacred activity. What we wanted to achieve was to present a religion which was a clear-cut alternative to live the best possible lives in accordance with the sacredness of the world itself.
2008/8/1 Ronald Delavega
Technically Daena Vanguhi could be called an Aryan religion The reason you will see many , including me, often use the term Indo-European for Daena Vanguhi is that we use the term to differientiate it from Semitic, or better, Abrahamic religions (Those religions that feature Abraham as prophet or Patriarch , founder or Elde,r in fact any sort of believe in Abraham, who is clearly a mythic figure, would do.)
However, Daena Vanguhi is in fact a universal religion that does not speak to one people or one language or one race or ethnicity. In fact is the world's first universal religion.
From my point of view , the value of excluding an Abrahamic, Hindu or any other outlook when looking at the Gathas, is that we must first fully understand and be familiar with the Gathic message and its import, before we go out and start comparing And in addition there is fundamental difference in outlook between the religions.
Daena Vanguhi is reflective Abrahamic religions are prescriptive. That is, Zarathushtrian think things trhough in the light of the Gathas and then they choose. They are not told or prescribed a whole series of commandments and orders In this repect its probably similar to classical Taoisn and Buddhism However it differs from those too.
In addition to that Ziism , to coin a word, presents a non-contradictive theology and a God which does not treat manking as servants or subjects ( slaves in some cases) but as friends, allies, partners if you will in a fight against wrong. In respect to the Eastern religions, it presents a personal God which at the same time is, in many ways abstract. Zarathushtra also looks at the world as real and good not illusory and evil.
So as you can see bringing perspectives from this faiths would be problematic
--- On Thu, 7/31/08, Peter M. Schogol
From: Peter M. Schogol
Subject: [Ushta] Indo-European religion
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008, 9:32 PM
Alexander and all,
I'm making my way through the archive and I've noticed some statements about Mazdayasna being an Indo-European religion. I have a couple of questions about this. If they've already been addressed could you steer me to that part of the archive?
If I understand correctly, "Indo-European" is a family of languages. People of many races and religions speak Indo-European languages, and I would guess that those languages have from their very beginning been influenced by neighboring language families.
Not being an anthropologist I wouldn't know if the Bactria of Zarathushtra' s day was ethnically or racially homogenous, but I think it's fair to doubt. So my first question is what would be the value of considering Mazdayasna an Indo-European religion?
I've read other scholars speaking of an Indo-Aryan religious culture. Would this be more to the point (assuming that such is a fact)?
My second question follows: Is there a value in excluding an interpretive lens from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam simply because they are originated in Semitic-language environments, especially as some contemporary Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachers who color outside the lines have themselves borrowed from Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism?