Very good points! And all of this could perfectly well be true. If so, thanks for the honesty of the Gathic authors! Because, are we really the ones to moralize?
After all, we take a stand on whether we accept Zarathushtra's religion or not, we will not fall for any offers to change our faith even if others have done so in the past.
And why not join a religion because of the benefits it brings, at least if we decide to choose religion because of its culture and its loyalty towards its members? Have we not again and again stressed the everyday honesty of Zoroastrians as one of our own selling points? I myslf became INTERESTED in Zoroastrianism because I enjoyed the company of Zoroastrians I met in Holland in the 1980s. Their carefree attitude AND spirituality in combination attracted me immensely.
I think it's great that you point to the human side of Zarathushtra - his ambitions, possibly even his vanity. We need to get rid of the idea that Zarathushtra was a holier-than-thou perfect messianic figure. Far from it!
But no matter how immoral Zarathushtra may have been - it is his message as such, and the culture built on this message, we subscribe to and want to spread to others as faithful Mazdayasni.
The fact that our religion was "grounded" by a fallible human being is just fine with me.
2008/8/30 Parviz Varjavand
Whoever among men pleases me, Zarathushtra Spitama with care,
becomes worthy of fame as an earnest person.
Wise God shall grant him life,
and promote his world through good mind.
We shall regard him as a good associate of Your righteousness.
Summary Substance: Zarathushtra blesses the people pleasing him by joining the Fellowship. He/she becomes noted for his/her earnest. Mazda Ahura grants him/her a new life that promotes his/her world and that too through his/her good mind - good thoughts that translate into good words and deeds. He/she becomes a good associate of righteousness, a good ally of what is proper and right. That is the recognition Zarathushtra and Zarathushtrians accord to such a worthy person.
Pondering Points: The Good Religion gives new sight, new life, new recognition - - a new identity.
(from "The Gathas, Our Guide," translated and annotated by Ali A. Jafarey,
Cypress, California, USA, 1989)
Parviz's Pondering Point,
It is all about a Takeover Plot; Zarathustra wants to take over religious power and the benefits that go with it away from the old priesthood. He promises the new converts to his religion more goodies from his divinity than they had from their old one. We do not know that the old order was bad because his new order destroyed the old. It is like Christianity that came and destroyed Mithraism and then all it had to say for Mithraism was ugly words. But from what little survives from the old order of Mithraism, we know that it is not what Christianity tells us that it was.