Zoroastrianism also known as Mazdayasna is an ancient Persian religion based on the speakings of the prophet Zoroaster. It has a dualistic cosmology of good and evil within the framework of monotheistic beliefs. Tenets of Zoroastrianism believe that evil will eventually be destroyed by good and will no longer exist in this world.
The concepts of Zoroastrianism include many items that have been adopted by other Near East religions such as:
- Belief in free will
- Judgement after Death
- Eternal good and bad places (aka Heaven and Hell)
Impacts on Other Religions
The beliefs of Zoroastrianism have become intertwined with many other religions of the Ancient Near East including:
- Northern Buddhism
- Greek Orthodoxy
It is widely believed that Zoroastrianism dates back to the second millennium BCE. It was the de facto religion for much of the Assyrian and later Babylonian empires. In approximately the seventh century BCE, the Muslim conquest of greater Persia brought much of the religion's prominence to an end. However, some of the practitioners moved to other places including India, Iran, and even North America which allowed the religion to spread to these regions.
The most important texts of Zoroastrianism are contained within a work called the Avesta. The Avesta, itself, is made up of the central writings supposedly of Zoroaster himself known as the Gathas; and a book of worship style hymns known as the Yasna.
The pantheon of Gods in Zoroastrianism includes natural forces that take on god-like power known as ahuras, and lesser beings known as daevas. The central figure of the religion (aside from Zoroaster himself) is the deity of wisdom called Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda created the world and the things that live in it. Ahura can contain the universe with a force known as Asha. The dueling powers exhibited in this world are Aka Manah - the evil thoughts of humans - and Spenta Mainyu which exhibits creative and positive thoughts.