No, there is no concept of "sin" to be found anywhere in The Gathas. None whatsoever.
Even my strongest adversaries on Zoroastrian theology completely agree with me on this issue.
Sin was invented with the creation of the mythology of The Garden Of Eden.
But as a Zoroastrian elderly pointed out to me already in the 1980s:
"While the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims all regard the eating of the forbidden fruit in The Garden of Eden as the ultimate tragedy in human history, and the beginning of Original Sin, we as Zoroastrians - if we were to believe in the story of The Garden of Eden - would have put our bets on The Snake instead and heralded The Snake as the hero."
In Zoroastrianism, OPPOSING what is previosuly held to be true and FINDING OUR OWN PATHS TO TRUTH is the very foundation of the religion. This is precisely what sacredness of ASHA is all about. However, this very attitude is precisely the origin of sin in the Abrahamic faiths. The two worldviews could not be any more different.
You really need to take off your Christian glasses before you study The Gathas or the Zoroastrian religion! Or else you will just become another boring Mary Boyce with a surficial and fundamentally mistaken view of the Zoroastrian creed.
2008/12/31 Helen Gerth
Good morning Alexander,
You are correct....my interest is in contemporary, online Zarathushti identity....and as a 'professed researcher' :-) I am careful to separate out and qualify what friends and acquaintances online share about their perspectives keeping in mind context....It is easy to become lost in the minute details of identity and belief -both similarities and differences -and I agree with Jehan Bagli that there is a wealth of similarities...while I do want to understand the differences as I would not want to offend or otherwise make a statement that you, or traditionalists etc. feel is incorrect about their views...I am also focusing more on general groups within the community at this point to summarize general positions...
Zaneta's comments are, while not specifically expressions of a Zarathushti's belief, very important in several ways.....they show how those outside the religion perceive it , their use of online Zarathushti resources to learn more about it, and how then may incorporate some of those beliefs.....watching how 'outside' participants are engaged in the community on different lists has also been part of understanding how the community and segments of it see themselves in relationship to others.....part of Zarathushti identity online is about what is said to others within the community and part of it is understanding what they want to present to those outside the community.....and perhaps most importantly of all what will the trajectory of Zoroastrianism be in the future....how much impact will those who have converted, those who are 'returning' to the religion of their ancestory, those who take parts of Zoroastrianism away from sites with them and tell others of it have on the social structure, the beliefs and practices of Zarathushti's years from now?
As for sin.....I've seen some indications that the Gathas actually do address the idea of sin...that has been my impression even before coming onto the lists....an interesting topic for much deeper reading when I have a moment.....my instinct is to go directly to the Gathas as I have seen some others do and find the references for myself which I cannot do at the moment....so this is not an attempt to engage on the concept....simply a recognition of your comment below and my thoughts.
I appreciate your thoughts and your sharing of contextual background to place individual postings against.
--- On Mon, 12/22/08, Alexander Bard
From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] An important correction: What are Zoroastrian beliefs (and merely beliefs expressed in forums run by Zoroastrians)?
Date: Monday, December 22, 2008, 2:24 AM
Since you are a researcher, I would like to point out that while Mehran Gheibi is indeed a Zoroastrian mobed in Iran, Zaneta Garrett is a Christian woman living in Sweden who has not made any claims to be or wanting to become a Zoroastrian but is merely a non-Zoroastrian interested in online Zoroastrianism, much like yourself. I believe this is valuable information for you as you are apparently studing contemporary Zoroastrian beliefs and not really general human beliefs in whatever, and therefore including the beliefs of non-Zoroastrians in your studies would radically invalidate your findings. There are differences in beliefs within Zoroastrianism, as Mehran has pointed out, but I agree with Mehran that there are also wide agreements, especially when it comes to how Zoroastrian ethics is radically different from Abhrahamic moralism. The lack of a concept of sin is a cornerstone in all forms of contemporary Zoroastrianism. Zaneta has her personal beliefs, as she is entitled to, but as a non-Zoroastrian I do not think that you should include them in your studies on Zorostrianism.