Thank you for a great and enlighteneing posting on your position!!!
Just a small clarification: Abrahamic is not the same as Abrahamist.
Abrahamic here means influenced by, leaning towards, or being related to Abrahamist faiths (like Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Bahai) but not necessarily more than so.
As a Panentheist you are clearly NOT an Abrahamist. With the exception of Sufism you are not likely to find any Pantheistic or Panentheistic versions anywhere of the Abrahamist faiths which are all dualist proper.
In this sense, you are clearly a Zoroastrian. Monist and Panentheist Zoroastrianism has lived closely together for 3,700 years and will likely remain to do so.
I'm personally full of respect for and always willing to listen to Panentheistic arguments, such as yours and those from Dina McIntyre, even though my fundamental belief has remained monist for years. The Gathas can certainly be read both ways and it is possible and even likely that Zarathushtra himself did not have a clear cut opinion on the issue. All for the better!
I am sorry but that is not a correct representation of my beliefs nor of why neither I nor Zarathushtra , and certainly not, Jafarey can be called Abrahamic.
First, as opposed to Dr J, I do not believe that AM is not immanent in Creation. I am Panentheistic, in that, I believe that Mazda (or more accurately) his thought and mind, as well as his energy, are present and immanent in Creation but that he also transcends it; being greater than it, as much as, he is the Creator and is portrayed as abiding in a different plane of existence. At the same time I do not agree with Dina that we ae but One b eing, with Dr Bagley that Mazda is immanent in his Essence a or with you and Alex that Reality is Monist and that we are all Mazda.
Second, even the fact that some (and indeed most certainly most Irani) Zartoshtis hold to Mazda as 'other' and not immanent; does not make them into Abrahamics. For the Abrahamic religions are characterized by certain attitudes and beliefs about the creator, the creation and their relationship to each other that are, frankly, anathema to (a well understood) Gathic thgeology. On this subject, I find it , with all due respect, rather ironic that you, who have stood for a preservation of a 'traditional' set of practices, attitudes and beliefs by conservative Zartoshties in Iran that are very Abrahamic, indeed almost insepoarable from Abrahamic belief, dsshould label others who clearly do not hoild these Abrahanic 'essential' as Abrahamic
For as to my experience with the conservative Irani Zartoshties , it has been made clear to me that their mainline beliefs include A) A Non-immanent deity. B Sin, D) Divine Judgement, E) Divine Condemnation F) A Geographical Hell of torment G) A god that precribes and proscribes behavior, practice and belief H) Blind belief in an authority whether human, a book, or whatever .
All the above are essential characteristics of an Abrahamic faith that are shared by what you have identified as Historical Zoroastrianism , and exalted it many times in the best of terms, as well. That is , of course your right but it is rather contradictory of you to stand for something else totally in disagreement with those beliefs.
Since Gathaists do not hold to any of the above Abrahamic tenets, I think that if we are going to go about labeling Zoroastrians as Abrahamics, something I MOST DEFINITELY believe we should NEVER EVER do, then the "Abrahamic' shoe would fit almost flawlessly on the 'foot' of your beloved conservative beliefs.
As to Asha being a tool or not , that is not nor has ever been my position . I mean I been in the listss for 9 years and I am sure you will be able with no problem to find a quote from me that asserts that ASHA IS A TOOL OR MAZDA IS NOT IMMANENT. Asha is the creation of Mazda ahura as recorded in the Gathas He is its 'father' and source . A carefuky styudy of the philological meanings of the ways assocuated to this 'fatherhood' leads me to believe that in factm Asha , and the other Fundamental Principles of Llfe are Divine Enanation and as such essences Aspects of the One Divinity
Thus, in my belief, Asha, cannot be a tool He is Mazda Ahura as Personified Righteous and True Order and is an inseparate part of Divinity.Mazda does not need to a Monist expression of Mind reality or whatever else you believe he is, for He and Asha to be One and indeed we can become like Him and thus be One in etics , but never in power and essence. at least that is as far as the Gbathas go. To posy]t anything else based on the Gathas is in my opinion escessive speculation.
If you want to go beyond the Gathas that is OK , but in all honesty, if you go beyond the Gathas, then, you ought not to use Gathic terms or the name of Zarathushtra to represent your beliefs. Youy would be dscussing something else . That something might be right and true but is not Mazda and is not Zarathushtra.
----- Original Message -----
From: Parviz Varjavand
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; Ahura-Mazda Zoroastrian ; Ahuraic@yahoogroups.com ; Zaneta Garratt ; ztheist
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:14 PM
Subject: [zoroastrians] Re: Prof. Mary Boyce, To Ron
The Abrahamic part is that as Mr. Jafarey pointed out in his posts, the Pristine Pure version of Zoroastrianism that you preach, has an Ahoora Mazda that sits outside the creation He/She has created. A Monist view places Ahoora Mazda in creation. Asha does not become a tool of a carpenter Ah-Maz, Asha becomes one with Ah-Maz. The consequences of such a differentiation are enormous.
--- On Tue, 12/16/08, ztheist
Subject: Re: [zoroastrians] Prof. Mary Boyce
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ahura-Mazda Zoroastrian"
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 4:11 PM
Unfortunately Parviz , is, I am afraid, very wrong on his characterization of Gathaists as "Abrahamic'. This is a fundamental misconception of his. If anything, the conservative Ziist view of his childhood and the Parsi conservative view of today is the one that is Abrahamic; as conservative view God as ordaining and prescribing just like the Abrahamic. Zarathushtra, in the Gathas, teaches something fundamentally different, He teaches a reflective religion with a God that does not order but expects you to freely choose.
----- Original Message -----
From: Zaneta Garratt
To: solvolant@yahoo. com ; group ; ushta@yahoogroups. com
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:23 AM
Subject: RE: [zoroastrians] Prof. Mary Boyce
Hi parviz, Thank you for writing this letter explaning the different streams in Zoroastrain development and thought-you give a very good inside picture of the development of different streams of Zoroastrainism- I have always enjoyed Mary Boyce's books but , as I am not Zoroastrain myself, I could not put all this down in such a good way that you have. I am also very fascinated with what Dina mcIntyre and Ali Jafarey have to say also-my opinion is that the Gathas, and the Avesta as well, are original scriptures but each person is free to interpret these as they think correct for themselves as a person, the main duty of all these writings is that they are there to make us better people-and that they are, in this way and many other ways,Divine, Thanks again from zaneta
To: ushta@yahoogroups. com; zoroastrians@ yahoogroups. com; jvarza@yahoo. com
From: solvolant@yahoo. com
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 17:19:56 -0800
Subject: [zoroastrians] Prof. Mary Boyce
About Prof. Mary Boyce
There is a discussion going on in the Ushta@yahoo groups about the merits of the works of Mary Boyce in the field of Zoroastrian studies, and I felt a need to share my views with an audience that might be interested in them.
Mary Boyce correctly registered the many beliefs of the Zoroastrians of Iran of some seventy years ago, those times when Gahan as a sacred book had not become popular amongst Zoroastrian intellectuals. The Zoroastrianism of my childhood was the Zoroastrianism Mary Boyce describes rather accurately. Mr. Khojeste Mistree was a student of Mary Boyce, and he can attest that the Zoroastrianism of the Parsis of India was and, to a great extent still is, the Zoroastrianism that Mary Boyce perceived in Sharifabad, Iran. I like this version because I grew up with it, and, although as a child I could not understand these things, it is Polytheistic with the heavy hand of Mani visible in a great part of its folk beliefs.
With the translations of Gahan becoming popular, a wave of Z. intellectuals started various efforts at reform. Dastoor Dhalla may mark the beginning of this particular movement and today I consider Ali Akbar Jafarey, Dina MacIntyre, and Dr. D. Irani as leading thinkers of this line of reform. We could say that today Iranian Zoroastrians have mostly shifted to a reform movement along Gahani lines and away from their Sassani heritage. My father, Dr. Feridoon Varjavand, was a strong believer in this reform movement and put me in classes that taught its ideologies.
From the early beginnings of the Gahani movement, there were scholars that did not see much merit in making Z. a religion "by the Book". Three amongst them, Mr. Zabih Behrooz, Dr. Mohamad Moghadam, and Dr. Sadegh Kia were amongst the best friends of my father. These scholars taught me much, and they basically did not consider the Gahani school much of an improvement on the Sassani one, the school that Mary Boyce describes with great accuracy. They considered that Nietzsche had a better glimpse of what the original Mazdayasni ideologies were all about than did Dastoor Dhalla.
My father did not financially or otherwise support Behrooz and his friends in their "Anjomane Iran Vij" and their "Iran Koode" publishing house and this movement gradually faded away. Other prominent Zoroastrian personalities such as Arbab Rostam Guiv and members of the Yeganegi and Varza families supported Prof. Poor Davood, and Ali Akbar Jafarey and the Gahani reform movement gained momentum in time and took roots. I know one reason why my father did not support Behrooz. It was post Second World War times and liking thinkers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Wagner…etc. would classify you as belonging to the German camp, and being identified as sympathetic to that camp was dangerous in those days. Behrooz also had a very cutting sense of humor which could put him and his associates in direct harm's way with religious pillars of the Iranian society. Behrooz came from a very complex and rich background, and he was truly the last of
the Persian Magi of the Mithraic lineage (if there ever was or is such a phoenix!).
Later, when the "Back to Gahan" movement gained momentum, I found myself in harmony with some of its reforms such as an open door policy when it came to conversion. However, the words of my old teacher Behrooz still rang in my ears; I understood that the structure of the new path was along Abrahamic lines and not combatable with the original Mazdean and Mind-Festive path of the early Iraji people (I use Iraji instead of Aryan because still one can not trust the character and motivations of persons who gather under the Aryan banner).
When I first started challenging some of the pronouncements of the "Pristine Purists" as the Gahan revivalists like to call themselves, I was met with a great amount of hostility. Only a new convert, Mr. Alexander Bard, began to take me seriously after a while, and a good friendship has developed between us over time. Mr. Bard is playful and whimsical in his art as a musician and artist, but in the philosophy of religions his opinions are very to the point, as far as I am concerned. His Monist vision of Zoroastrianism and his vast knowledge of the great German philosophic heritage put him in the right path in introducing to the world a new option for Zoroastrian reform. I am firmly with him in this, and I consider a Monist Mind-festive version of Zoroastrianism a very attractive one. This option is not like a Sassani version, close to Hinduism as far as caste systems and the laws of purity are concerned, and not like the Gahani one, shifting towards
an Abrahamic Dualism as far as separating the creator from the created is concerned.
Some day people may want to know more about the different paths that the Zoroastrian religion has taken when bridging into modern times, and I felt I owed it to the history of my religion to share what I know in this regards.