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Zoroastrianism and Its Influences on the World

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Zoroastrianism and Its Influences on the World

With a membership of about 200,000, the importance of Zoroastrianism is far greater than its numbers suggest. Closely related to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, its concepts of Satan, angelology, demonology, a deliverer, future life, paradise and judgment in these religions may have been directly or indirectly derived from Zoroastrianism. Founded by the Iranian prophet and reformer Zoroaster in the 6th century BC, Zoroastrianism contains both monotheistic and dualistic features. Its concepts of one God, judgment, heaven and hell likely influenced the major Western religions.
History of Zoroastrianism
The origins of the Zoroastrian religion are shrouded in mystery. The prophet Zarathustra, later referred to by the Greeks as Zoroaster, founded Zoroastrianism roughly between the 16th and 10th centuries BCE. Zoroaster's birth date is also uncertain and modern scholarship currently suggests he lived in northern or eastern Iran or nearby such as in Afghanistan or southern Russia. In Zoroaster’s thirties he had a revelation in which he saw an angel who told him that there is only one true god and that God’s name was Aura Mazda (Clark, 1998).
It is certain that by the year 549 B.C.E., Zoroastrianism had become a major world religion. It was Cyrus the Great, first ruler of the Persian Empire, who ordained Zoroastrianism as the official religion of his state. It was this same Cyrus that liberated the Jews from the occupation they had suffered under the Babylonians, and, when the Jews returned to Judaea, they took back with them the elements of Zoroastrianism that can today be found in all three of the monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Dinshaw, 2003). Zoroastrianism remained a major world religion for over 1,000 years afterwards when it was finally replaced by Islam as the dominant religion of...

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