Let's learn from INDIA here, the closest culture to Iran historically and philosohically.
Indians are happy to divide their religion between a folk religion called Hinduism, where popular practice dictates the content of the religion, and a philosophy in search of truth, called Brahmanism. Hinduism has thousands of gods, Brahamnism only has Brahman, which is the same as The Universe (Pantheism or possibly Panenthiesm, just like us).
Zoroastrianism should be devided along the same lines: We have a folk Zoroastrianism, which Jehan talks about encountering every day in his congregation, but there is also "Mazdayasna", our equivalent of Brahmanism, which we try to define here on Ushta. In this sense, we on Ushta have more in common with Indian Brahmanists then with most folk Zoroastrians, but our thoughts will eventually slip through into folk Zoroastrianism too and have effect there. That is the whole point of Brahmanism in India and we should make sure the same thing is true of Madayasna (Mazdaism) in regard to folk Zoroastrianism in our culture.
2009/10/17 Judy Weismonger
Hello Jehan....It is nice to read your posts. I too was religious as a christian, and even as a later Atheist...because I thought I could save people and provide for the "needs" of the world. I also went into my field of study...because I considered the "needs" of the world.
However, the more I have observed human nature, the more I realize that not all of either nature or the world's human population is under my control...or yours either. The question then begins...how much of myself, my education, and my time and will is spent...on the needs of the world and why?
Do I or anyone like us who care about people...really make any difference in the world? The answer is no....I became extremely sad when I realized that I, and so many others in my field of science have so little impact on other human beings.
The question is then Why?....Why don't we have a bigger impact on other human beings? The answer is complicated, but it has to do with...the slow process of genetics, mutations, and evolution. It has taken us bipeds more than 7 million years to be able to put a couple of thoughts together. We are still evolving...and too many are not evolving and remain at the hand-to-mouth stage of existence...where only their basic needs of food, shelter and sex are considered...and not the future of the world.
Yes, I can be accused of Social Darwinism...and to a degree that is correct. Change comes from the inside the human mind, and...it happens over 100s of generations...and I came to this conclusion by reading UN GAO reports (United Nations General Accounting Office) in which the US, the Europeans and others have spent literally trillions of dollars on third world countries...who have made little to no changes. Every year the number of those in povery expands, they do nothing on their own or in groups to save themselves...or even consider why they are starving and ramp up the emotion or intellect for change. Religion too often tells them "its god's will"....they are being punished. The Left says its the fault of all the rich countries who won't share the wealth. But, the rich have shared and shared and shared...more wealth than the world has ever seen, and nothing has essentially changed. What then are the rich to do? Kill themselves...because the poor remain poor? Why?
Feeding programs (without birth control)...which feed the poor all over the world...do nothing more than make the "poor" just healthy enough to have even more children they cannot support with the resources available....and are actually increasing poverty and the number of poor to a higher degree than if they had been left alone....or fed intelligently with birth control methods.
India tried to actually pay Hindu men to have vasectomies in train stations....which did not work. In Africa....thousands of birth control nurses went to villages and tried to get men to put on condoms...to no avail. Billions have been spent in Africa to get men to use condoms and women to say no to men without condoms...to prevent HIV...and its been a dismal failure. HIV is increasing....although in some countries like Botswana, they are giving out free condoms on every street corner.
The US has the largest welfare system in the world...and to date, 13% of the population which was considered poor in the 1950s....has not improved one whit, and 13% of the US population remains poor in 2009. Why?
When one engages in helping the poor as did Mother Theresa, rarely does that "helper" look inside themselves and ask Why? I did....I also examined the psychological literature of those who have high degrees of "empathy" toward the poor. In almost every research study, such an individual "helper" perceives themselves also as a 'victim' to the point that if they can help and control the lives of others...they are in essence helping themselves. It does not matter that their efforts are not effective, it is the "emotion" behind 'helping' that is important to them.
Mother Theresa believed that dedicating her life to the poor...got god's attention. In the end, Mother Theresa doubted the existence of god. She became an atheist.
So, it comes down to this...do I as a "helper" jump on the boat filled with drowning people, who all got on that boat...without paying attention to anyone who said if too many of you get on that boat (over population) your boat will sink? Do I get on that boat...simply because I have so much sympathy for the poor and drown myself?
Or do I get off that boat, take notes, do what I can for those who are smart enough to jump over board and swim to shore...and save myself and those I care about? Just where do I put my time, energy, money and resources? It really comes down to a triage system of decisions of who to help and why.
In the "wisdom" of nature, it is not the dumb, or the slow, who survive. It is those with some kind of will to live, those who pay attention, create new strategies for survival...who are in the process of evolution who survive. However, there are cultures on this planet who have not changed in 100,000 years....why? And sometimes, such evolutions and adaptations are very quick.
And sometimes....one wonders about those who do not seem to have any kind of historical memory of those who died before them. For example....I've been at the scene of a volcano in Costa Rica where 40,000 people died. This particular volcano also erupted 30 years before and 5,000 people died. One then has to ask...what kind of "genetics" is involved for a group of people to resettle right back on the side of an active volcano...and risk dying a horrible tragic death which was almost certain?
What kind of genetics drives people on the island of Fuket in Indonesia...who were very aware of the history of tsunamies....devastating their community 20 years ago...to then resettle right back on the very same beach fronts....and in just a few years...1 million then die from a tsunami? What is going on here?
Was such foolishness and suicidal behavior a product of stalled genetics, religion or both? What should we do ...or how much should we do....for people who have the kind of unevolved genetics who cannot save themselves?
The amount of money spent on both HIV research and education in the US robbed breast cancer and heart disease research of massive amounts of funding. Why? Because homosexuals gained control of the media ....and used massive public relations campaigns to make others feel guilty enough to grant billions to HIV research...and deny funding to those with diseases not related to intentional life style choices. What is interesting is that HIV is fully preventable by changing one's life style and not engaging in anal sex or needle sharing. So...what is the point of all this HIV research? If we find a cure for HIV...will it change how homosexuals have sex, or stop drug addicts from sharing dirty needles? Was all this funding simply to allow homosexuals to entertain themselves through unprotected anal sex, and for the rest to continue to get high using dirty needles?
Now after more than 20 years of HIV education and research, HIV rates are rising again, and in all of those 20 years...it barely made a dent in the ongoing infection rates. Very few homosexuals either changed their life style and stopped having anal sex...or used a condom. What then is the point in spending billions of dollars on HIV education and research for a) so that such individuals could continue to have a certain sexual position that causes damage and disease to the rectum, and so that drug addicts could share dirty needles?
The outrageous stupidity of this wasted funding, which denied legitamate researchers money...did what to further human progress and evolution? Tell me. Why...is it so very necessary to spend such huge amounts of money and resources on individuals who simply will not help themselves? What does that tell us about how we think or our future?
I think we are much like lemmings all running in a pack following leaders who are going to lead us over the cliff of annialation and no return.
What then are the differences in such cultures where "intelligent" or rational individuals practice birth control, space out their children to give them the best advantages, use condoms, and who are not drug addicts who share dirty needles...and ensure that their children go to school and become self sufficient and productive adults...and seek other opportunites for advancement and change? What are we doing to support them?
In the current Left wing political spectrum...it appears that everything is being done to punish people who care...and who support themselves, or who live intelligently. How long can we do this?
My conclusion is...that by "helping" many of the masses of over populating poor who won't or can't help themselves, I am interrupting the laws of nature, i.e. the wisdom of nature, the laws of consequences and in reality, the laws of physics...and worse, I am NOT expending my intellect, education, time, and resources on those who have demonstrated some potential and will to survive, and survive well. Who then am I...to interrupt the laws of nature and physics at this level?
I say at this level...because in time, maybe in 1000 years, genetic engineering will be at such an advanced state, that there will be no poverty, no low IQed people, no disease...if we can survive the next 1000 years, where it is projected that this poor suffering planet will have a population of more than 100 billion people. Can anyone guess what 100 billion people is going to do to this planet and human kind?
However, in the mean time on the outside chance we do survive the next 1000 years...I and others should be helping our brightest and most able, and willing and motivated children...regardless of race or gender to succeed and find answers to this mess. In the US...particular minorities who were passed through school, with IQs of 80...are now given scholarships to universities...passed through based on race alone and graduated...whereas other children who have the potential to succeed on their own...and they and their parents are required to pay and pay and pay for those with no potential and who will...fail. Why? What is the point? What is very wrong with this ideology and idolatry, and sainthood of the poor?
If anything is to be done...a world wide campaign to induce people to use birth control...should be underway...and no one should be fed in massive feeing programs...without also consenting to birth control.
In this process of self examination of why I am involved in helping and now not helping, I also had to understand my own emotional motivations for helping...and become more intelligent in how I helped and who I helped. Yes, I believe in alleviating suffering and pain...but, going out to the way to provide extravagant and expensive resources all over the world that changed nothing...simply means that we are also depleting ourselves of the intellectual and financial resources that support science and progress...and the more we spend on the poor, who will not help themselves, or add nothing to "life" and progress...the more we deny support to those who can and will make a difference in the future.
Human beings are still animals...and not very intelligent animals it seems when it comes to over population. Hugs, Judy
--- On Fri, 10/16/09, Jehan Bagli
From: Jehan Bagli
Subject: Re: [Ushta] Re: Ahura and Mazda, Giti and Minoo
Date: Friday, October 16, 2009, 11:47 PM
I too appreciate your brilliant postings but I fully agree with Giorgios 100%. There are 6.8 billion people in this world and we need to consider the needs of those who has limitation to appreciate the high level of scientific facet of Zoroastrianism that we discuss and read on Ushta. Myself as a retired research scientist in medicinal chemistry truly enjoy the scientific implications of my faith. However, my duties as a Zoroastrian clergy has completely different set of responsibilities To satisfy the religious and spiritual needs of the lay members. Much of the Zoroastrian laity does ot have the level of appetite that prevails on Ushta network.
There are Zoroastrians who simply are happy with accepting the fact that there is Mazda Ahura. It matters little to them where? Perhaps within them that satisfies them the most. Their feelings that they commune with Him in their prayers and in their ritual is a great source of satisfaction to them. To tell them that prayers and rituals are for the birds, and that they should forget about it is blasphemy and sacrilegious to them. They have been brought up believing in the presence of God, immortality of soul and after life. May be their Grey matter has these beliefs imprinted in the DNA. May be they generate protein through the mRNA that has the proofs for these beliefs in them!!! They need no scientific proof for their beliefs. In fact trying to convince them and explaining to them that Ahura Mazda resides in neutrons and positrons would slide like water over ducks back. It could do more harm then good for these significant fragment of Zarathushtis. They do not comprehend Baruch Spinoza, John Dewey or David Hume.
Any thoughts you might have to rectify this, to bring them to the type of Mazdaism under discussion on Ushta will be appreciated.