torsdagen den 5:e mars 2009

How does one define a religion? Part 3

Dear Jehan, Dina, Dino

Thank you for brilliant postings on this topic.
Zoroastrianism s nit only a philosophy, to the ancient Persians Zoroastrianism WAS philosophy itself. Therefore the label Mazdayasna (the celebration of wisdom).
This philosophy became a religion through customs and practices.
So the correct answer in moden English would be that Zoroastrianism is both philosophy and religion, and then we mean religion in its original sense (as religare).

Ushta
Alexander

2009/3/4 Jehan Bagli

Dear Friend:

In this discussion of Philosophy versus religion, I notice a major conventional parameter of 'customs and practices' is missing. I believe that all religions start as a philosophy, advocating a way of life, which Dina has so eloquently pointed out for Zarathushtrians. However as the belief in Divinity pervades though that way of life, with time, humankind makes effort to commune with the Divinity. This invariably results in the emergence of customs and rituals that transforms the philosophy to a religion. These customs ad practices also contribute to some degree, the binding within a community that Perviz referred to as 'Relegare'. Almost invariably all religions, institutionalized or otherwise, encompass some kind of individual or congregational ritual practices that philosophy does not. Unfortunately at times these the practices are so heavily enforced by the institutional infrastructural hierarchy that the philosophy implied in the religion is overshadowed and the some religions become a multi-level marketing industry. Zarathushtra's philosophical teaching of Spenta way of being was essentially overshadowed in the Sasanian era of Iranian history.

With Peace and Enlightenment from Mazda

Jehan Bagli

On 4-Mar-09, at 8:56 AM, DINAMCI@aol.com wrote:

> Dear Helen,
>
> That is a legitimate and difficult question to answer. The ancient Greeks did indeed consider Z's teachings to be a philosophy. Eudoxus (of Cnidus) who (dare I say this on Alexander's List!) was a disciple of Plato, is said to have thought it to be "the noblest and most useful of the schools of philosophy." (quoting from Prof. Humbach's book, Vol. 1, page 24).
>
> Philosophy means "love of wisdom". And mazdayasna means "worship of wisdom". And to Zarathushtra, worshipping means to think, speak and act in an ashavan way, with a foundation of love (Y51.22). So mazdayasna is indeed a love of wisdom.
>
> Today, the difference between a philosophy and a philosophical "religion" as I understand it is that the latter includes a belief in the Divine (thought not necessarily the conventional idea of "God") whereas the former does not. This distinction does not apply to Zarathushtra's teachings, however. Some of my Z friends (including a dear friend in London) are quite comfortable being followers of Zarathushtra who see Mazda as an allegory -- the idea of wisdom personified -- rather than a real life form. While I do not think this view accords with the evidence of the Gathas, it is certainly held by a number of Zoroastrians.
>
> As with so many labels, perhaps the distinctio n between "philosophy" and "religion" is an artificial one which we have created. As a species, we are very much given to categorizing, and classifying. But sometimes, such distinctions (like other labels for different thought systems) do not accurately reflect a given reality.
>
> Wishing us the best,
>
> Dina G. McIntyre.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Helen Gerth
> To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 5:20 pm
> Subject: Re: [Ushta] Reply to Helen re How does one define a religion
>
> Dear Dina,
>
> How would one then distinguish it from 'philosophy'... religion of course includes a philosophy of a way of living...but philosophy is not always a religion...
>
> Obviously I have a particular thought in mind...hence the question to see if others see it the same way....or how it is different...
>
> Thank you!
>
> Peace and happiness always,
> Helen
>
> --- On Tue, 3/3/09, DINAMCI@aol.com wrote:
>
> From: DINAMCI@aol.com
> Subject: [Ushta] Reply to Helen re How does one define a religion
> To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 1:08 PM
>
> Dear Helen,
>
> If you want a definition in a nutshell, I would say that religion according to Zarathushtra means using your mind / heart to search for what is true and right, and think it, speak it, and do it in all the many and varied circumstances of your life. In other words, it is a beneficent way of living.
>
> Wishing us the best,
>
> Dina G. McIntyre.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Helen Gerth
> To: Ushta
> Sent: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 3:16 pm
> Subject: [Ushta] How does one define a religion
>
> Dear all,
>
> What is the definition of a religion.... and20how does Zoroastrianism meet this definition?
>
> Up front I will say that I have no expectations. ..and I realize that there will be numerous different answers...
>
> Thank you for indulging me if you have time or interest...
>
> Ushta te,
> Helen

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