Let's clarify one thing once and for all: Monism and monotheism are not opposites.
The opposite of monism is dualism (or even polyism), the idea that there are at least two radically different substances in the universe that are somehow mystically interacting with each other (although no dualist has ever been able to explain exactly how this would work since it remains to be explained through which substance the two communicate). The belief that God and Creation are two separate entities is a perfect example of dualism (where it remains to be explained how God interacts with Creation in that case). While making God and The Universe synonymous is a requirement for monism.
As you can tell, I'm very much a monist myself. I do not find any credible evidence of any second substance anywhere. If there is a soul it is very much a part of the body itself, as modern neuroscience has also shown to be the case (every emotion or feeling we experience corresponds to en exact physical reaction in the brain).
The opposite of monotheism is polytheism, the belief that there are several rather than just one god.
Needless to say, I'm a monist monotheist, which is another word for a pantheist (The Universe and God are one and the same thing and substance). The famous atheist activist Richard Dawkins calls pantheism "the thinking man's atheism"; in other words he considers pantheism the only credible religious belief of all. The intelligent choice we can make is between atheism and pantheism, anything else is basically humbug.
I agree with Dawkins 100%.
And I'm convinced Zarathushtra, the author of The Gathas, and his contemporaries, were pantheists too. I don't see any evidence of dualism in his worldview as dualism was introduced by the Egyptians and the Babylonians to control their agricultural societies much later in history. Which in turn explains why the Abrahamic religions are dualist and not monist like Mazdayasna.
2011/2/24 Parviz Varjavand
My very dear Ostad Jafarey,
For me, the whole history of man's intellectual development does not pivot on Zarathustra and we would be talking about Mazdayasna and Devyasna today regardless of his being there or not. We just would call it as having our thoughts Science-happy or Faith-happy, or something like that. Since Science does not support the existence of any single Supper Intellect making everything else up as a Carpenter (God) would sit in his workshop and make Chairs (Me and the rest of creation), I give myself permission to dismiss that idea as unscientific.
I however can not dismiss that there is a lot of intelligences at work in nature and that I am also part of this whole mix. So I see some kind of intelligence at work every time I blow my nose, and I think to myself that I must be some kind of God that just blew its nose. That is all that makes sense to me and makes me happy when I think of God-power. The bigger picture of a Supper Duper God having made me in a way that I can blow my nose and that I must bow down to Him and say thank you every time I blow my nose does not make me happy, does not turn me on, does not make me go into Yasna.
So I am Mazda-yasna as one that gets happy that as a creature it has the power to blow it's own nose. This I call Monist Mazda Yasna. I do not get happy if I have to thank some Supper Intelligence for making me in a way that I can blow my nose every time I blow my nose, so I do not think that I am a Monotheist Mazda Mazdayasni person.
If my version of Monist Mazdayasna is not one hundred percent scientific, I do not care. It just makes me more happy (go more into Yasna) than the Monotheist Mazdayasna version of our religion. The Monotheist Mazdayasna version of Zoroastrianism looks an awful lot like the other versions of Monotheism that is gobbling up the minds of the masses of humanity on the globe and I do not feel there is any glory in riding that train.
--- On Wed, 2/23/11, Jafarey@aol.com
Subject: Re: [zoroastrians] The Paradox of Choice, and the PIR
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 12:19 PM
In a message dated 2/22/2011 8:23:04 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
For me anything scientific is Mazdayasni and anything unscientific (if talked about in a religious context) is Devyasna. So if Zaratushtra has things to say about rewards and punishments I may encounter after death, he is talking about Devyasna. Also, if he talks about a God that is separate from his creation, he is again talking about Devyasna and I have to reley on Faith to understand him.
I can take Devyasna if a very pretty woman talks about it, because I would concentrate on her cute lips as they move withought having to understand anything they are saying. But when bearded men dead long ago talk Devyasna, I have a hard time with that.
Yours as always,
Dorud, my dear,
For me too <
My request is: Please read the Gahan coolly and collectedly and you will see that <
Here I would like to be enlightened on Monism, because so far I have not been able to understand it. We are as creators, maintainers and promoters of things, from the stick and stone tools of the Stone Age, 650,000 years ago to our up-to-date electronics, but why are we separate from them all along and yet say that the Cosmos is either its own creator and maintainer or is one with the creator and maintainer? Please, give me a single instance of Monism. Which branch of proven science shows it?
I am sure that you know that the word mazda/medha for super-intellect existed in the Indo-Iranian language but it was Zarathushtra who applied it to his discovery of the Creator-Maintainer-Promoter, and that he is the first person to deny <
You conclude: <
Ali A. Jafarey