onsdag 11 januari 2012

Zoroastrianism and Satan

Dear Kenneth

I guess you have to ask Muslims and Christians what kind of devil they believe in. I have personally never grasped their beliefs as find them both contradictory and totally uncredible. But then again, I'm not a Muslim nor a Christian and that for very good reasons.

There is no such thing as a personal Satan in Zoroastrianism proper. Sure there are devils in folk religion in the Indo-Aryan cultures, but Zarathushtra does not believe in any satanic being. However, there are obviously stagnant or destructive minds around and this is what "Angra Mainyu" means. I would even stretch the concept and speak of "minds of bitterness" or "minds of ressentiment" as proper translations of Angra Mainyu. We all have to fight a daily struggle against such a mentality taking over our minds. But this is precisely what the life of a Zoroastrian proper is all about.


Den 11 januari 2012 20:03 skrev Kenneth C :


I am an Anthropology student who would like to focus his studies on a combination of Religious Anthropology and psychological anthropology. I am a practitioner of a religion that is a reinvention of an older Scandinavian religion called Asatru. In Sweden I think Alexander Bard might know it as Asatro. Alexander I hope you don't mind me saying. I grew up in the metal scene. Your music was music I found catchy and liked, but was embarrassed to admit it to my macho Heavy Metal friends. I do sincerely mean that as a compliment, so I hope you do not take offense.

Zoroastrianism and Indo-European thought in general if fascinating to me as it deals a lot with matters of mind, and consciousness. I have found that Zoroastrianism has the most emphasis on matters of the mind. After reading the Gatha's I came to the conclusion that Zoroaster was the first Psychologist. In Zoroastrianism there are thousands of years studying the mind and western culture is just starting. One reason why I am hoping to do ethnographic field work on Zoroastrianism.

Now because I do not think like my ultra conservative, American nationalist, evangelical family, I have been at war with myself between what my family told me I was not capable of (because I am on the autistic spectrum, what they wanted me to be, what am capable of, and what I really am. This has caused much mental stress which has lead to severe stomach problems. Because of this I often wondered if I was in fact a child of the devil, so to overcome this anxiety I considered the possibility. Then suddenly the voice of Terence Mckenna saying "Well if I am a disciple of Satan, it is an unknowing disciple." I felt at ease. A just parent would never punish a child for not knowing what he or she is doing is wrong. Therefore if God exist and God is just, why should I be punished for not knowing. That kind of God cannot be good.

It was then that I came to the conclusion that the devil is not real. The devil is nothing more that a cartoon character created by human thought as a way to scare people from thinking. Fascinating thing is I started reading more on Zoroastrianism and I am by no means trying to simplify Angra Manyu as a devil. However I remember reading that the two words translate to Dead Mentality or Stagnant mind. A ha! I am seeing synchronicity. So my question is could the devil as a concept in the Christian or Muslim in fact be something that promotes the Stagnant mind? It would appear that most Christian or Muslim motivation is from the concept of fear of the devil rather than a love for God. I remember reading in the Gatha's and this saying really hit me like a lighting bolt. What I read was "Do good for the sake of doing good, without fear of punishment or expectation of reward." This is the utmost way to practice altruism. Ayn Rand would not be proud. I do not consider myself a Zoroastrian because I don't feel that I live up to such an altruistic standard. For that reason I am not worthy to call myself that. Well back to the point. How many Christians or Muslims are doing good because the act of good gives a better quality life, or how many of them are doing it because of a combination of hopes for rewards in Heaven or Fear of suffering in Hell. One Muslim at my school said "Well if you aren't doing it to be in Heaven than what are you striving for?" In which my response was "but if you are striving for that, than does that not cheapen your action by intention?" I ended up stumping her with that.

I guess what I am getting at is I find the goal of Heaven, or fear of Hell is the leading cause in this world today of human strife, not advancing in science (like how in America people want to teach Intelligent Design in Schools) and people's inability to think outside their cultural conditioning. It seems that the fear of the devil is a bigger motivation in these religions, than a hope for reward. So are they really serving God, or are they really serving the concept of a devil? This would be an interesting discussion. I would like to know what the Zoroastrians here think.


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