This is what you get when you have a religion which does not ACTIVELY missionize, where you don't score points in a heaven for winning converts, where you do assume that others are often right and live good lives without calling themselves your religion. Welcome to the world of Zoroastrianism!
2009/10/4 Judy Weismonger
Alexander....you are correct, and let me add that I talked today to a Hindu woman from Northern India. I asked her if she knew of any Zoroastrians in India.
Now get this...not only did she say yes, but she said that she and her entire family often went to their festivals and lectures!...
But, I said...you are Hindus, but were you considering converting? She said "no," but that the Zoroastrians in her town have such an all inclusive, and open reputation, that it was interesting and rewarding to go to the Zoroastrian temple for their festivals.
I find that fascinating, and an aspect of Zism I did not consider. If in the US, Zs become prevalent, I think it would be most rewarding for everyone to be a source of education and community, without any consideration of the normal "us versus them" attitude that is often found in christianity. And with the added benefit of not master minding conversions...the pressure is off for individuals and the community to be around Zs because no fear, or hard core sales tactics and spiritual "blackmail and extortion" would be used to gain converts.
How truly unique is Zism. Every day in this forum, I am learning new and more wonderful aspects of this great religion.
Thank you all, Hugs, Judy
--- On Sun, 10/4/09, Alexander Bard
From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] Zoroastrianism and Sectarianism
Date: Sunday, October 4, 2009, 10:26 AM
Except that we do not really have sects within Zoroastrianism.
The only major contemporary controversy regards conversions where a small minority of Indian Parsees - for reasons that have much more to do with Indian culture than with Zoroastrianism - still oppose conversions by outsiders. Most Parsees now do not.
But this does not make Zoroastrian culture divided. We still talk to each other: Sassanidians, Mazdayasni, Gathaists, Iranian-born, Indian-born, foreign-born, converts etc in a way you will not find within Christianity. Temples for all are vuilt, communion is shared and not split etc. You will actually not find any two Zoroastrian temples competing with each other in any city anywhere.
I guess the point is that there does not seem to be a need here to only let a specific set of people enter a heaven (as in Islam and Christianity). This is why sectarianism never really took hold within Zoroastrianism. It is a rather unified religion and philosophy historically speaking, tolerating and even cherishing difference of thought.