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Criticism of Zoroastrianism

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Title: Criticism of Zoroastrianism  
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Subject: Zoroastrianism, Criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses, Criticism of Sikhism, Criticism of the Catholic Church, Criticism of monotheism
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Criticism of Zoroastrianism

Criticism of Zoroastrianism has taken place over many centuries not only from the adherents of other religions but also among Zoroastrians themselves seeking to reform the faith.

Contents

  • Zoroaster 1
  • Literature 2
  • Polytheism 3
  • Inter-Zoroastrian divisions 4
  • Who is a Zoroastrian (Zarathushti)? 5
  • Predestination 6
  • Patriarchy 7
  • References 8

Zoroaster

Christian missionaries claimed that Zoroaster never had a divine commission (or ever claimed such a role),[1] never performed miracles, or uttered prophecies and that the story of his life is "a mere tissue of comparatively modern fables and fiction."[2][3] Others assert that all the available Zoroastrian sources regarding Zoroaster only provide conflicting images about him,[4] especially between earlier and later sources.[5]

Literature

The

  1. ^ Sharma, Suresh K.; Sharma, Usha, eds. (2004). Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Zoroastrianism. Mittal Publications. pp. 17–18.  
  2. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 206–7.  
  3. ^ Stausberg, Michael; Vevaina, Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw, eds. (23 Mar 2015). The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 75.  
  4. ^ S. Nigosian (24 Sep 1993). Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 10.  
  5. ^ Sharma, Suresh K.; Sharma, Usha, eds. (2004). Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Zoroastrianism. Mittal Publications. p. 14.  
  6. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. p. 204.  
  7. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 205–6.  
  8. ^ Kenneth Boa (1990). Cults, World Religions and the Occult (revised ed.). David C Cook. p. 48.  
  9. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 207–8.  
  10. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. p. 205.  
  11. ^ Stausberg, Michael, ed. (2004). Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (illustrated ed.). BRILL. pp. 479–80.  
  12. ^ John R. Hinnells (28 Apr 2005). The Zoroastrian Diaspora: Religion and Migration (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 706.  
  13. ^ Stausberg, Michael, ed. (2004). Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (illustrated ed.). BRILL. pp. 50, 298–99.  
  14. ^  
  15. ^ S. Nigosian (24 Sep 1993). Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 116.  
  16. ^ S. Nigosian (24 Sep 1993). Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 23.  
  17. ^ Kenneth Boa (1990). Cults, World Religions and the Occult (revised ed.). David C Cook. p. 48.  
  18. ^ Stausberg, Michael, ed. (2004). Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 43.  
  19. ^ S. Nigosian (24 Sep 1993). Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 116.  
  20. ^ Stausberg, Michael, ed. (2004). Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 471.  
  21. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. p. 208.  
  22. ^ Stausberg, Michael, ed. (2004). Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 51.  
  23. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 221–2.  
  24. ^ Leaman, Oliver, ed. (19 Oct 2006). Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy. Routledge. p. 608.  
  25. ^ Jenny Rose (2 Apr 2014). Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 210–11, 220.  
  26. ^ Ariane Sherine (9 December 2013). "Zoroastrianism needs to adapt its archaic laws – or die". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  27. ^ LAURIE GOODSTEIN (6 September 2006). "Zoroastrians Keep the Faith, and Keep Dwindling". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  28. ^  
  29. ^ Tamim Ansary (2010). Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (illustrated, reprint ed.). PublicAffairs. p. 9.  
  30. ^ Richard C. Martin; Mark R. Woodward; Dwi S. Atmaja (1997). Atmaja, Dwi S., ed. Defenders of Reason in Islam: Mu'tazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol (illustrated ed.). Oneworld Publications. p. 86.  
  31. ^ Muhammad Qasim Zaman (1997). Religion and Politics Under the Early ʻAbbāsids: The Emergence of the Proto-Sunnī Elite. BRILL. p. 62.  
  32. ^ Ghada Hashem Talhami (2013). Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 186, 372.  
  33. ^ Dale T. Irvin; Scott Sunquist (10 Jan 2002). History of the World Christian Movement: Volume 1: Earliest Christianity To 1453 (illustrated ed.). A&C Black. p. 202.  
  34. ^ Solomon Alexander Nigosian (1993). The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research (reprint ed.). McGill-Queen's Press. p. 13.  

References

Zoroastrianism has been criticized for the perception that it promotes a patriarchal system, expressed through such avenues as an all-male priesthood and its historical allowance of polygamy—practiced by Zoroaster himself.[32][33][34]

Patriarchy

Zoroastrians have been criticized by Muslim authors for their rejection of predestination.[28][29] This follows a famous hadith of Muhammad in which he negatively associates the Qadariyah Islamic sect with the Magians.[30][31]

Predestination

Much like the question of who is a Jew?, Zoroastrian identity, especially whether it is adopted through birth or belief (or both), "remains a cause for tension" within the community.[25][26] Reformers have criticised the orthodox refusal to accept religious converts as one reason for the communities' declining population.[27]

Who is a Zoroastrian (Zarathushti)?

Divisions and tensions also exist between Iranian and Indian Zoroastrians and over such issues as the authority of a hereditary priesthood in the transmission and interpretation of the faith, ethnicity and the nature of Ahura Mazda.[23] Historically, differences also existed between the Zoroastrian branches of Zurvanism, Mazdakism and Mazdaism.[24]

Zoroastrian reformers, such as Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla, have argued that literary precedence should be given to the Gathas, as a source of authority and textual authenticity. They have also deplored and criticized many Zoroastrian rituals (e.g. excessive ceremonialism and focus on purity,[17][18] using "bull's urine for ritual cleansing, the attendance of a dog to gaze at the corpse during funerary rites, the exposure of corpses on towers [for consumption by vultures and ravens]")[19][20] and theological and cosmological doctrines as not befitting of the faith.[21] This orthodox versus reformist controversy rages even on the internet.[22]

Inter-Zoroastrian divisions

Western scholars and Christian missionaries have frequently attacked the Zoroastrian reverence of the Amesha Spenta and Yazatas as polytheism.[10][11] Critics also commonly claim that Zoroastrians are worshipers of other deities and elements of nature, such as of fire—with one prayer, the Litany to the fire (Atesh Niyaesh),[12] stating: "I invite, I perform (the worship) of you, the Fire, O son of Ahura Mazdā together with all fires"—and Mithra.[13] At a minimum, critics charge Zoroastrians with being followers of dualism, who only claimed to be followers of monotheism in modern times to confront the powerful influence of Christian and Western thought which "hailed monotheism as the highest category of theology."[14] This monotheistic reformist view is seen to contradict the conservative (or traditional) view of a dualistic worldview most evident in the relationship between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu.[15] Critics add that the fact that such differing views have proliferated are a sign of the enigmatic nature of the Zoroastrian beliefs regarding the divinity.[16]

Polytheism

Christian missionaries argued that the Avesta could not be divinely inspired because much of its text was irrevocably lost or unintelligible[7][8] and Martin Haug, who greatly helped the Parsis of India to defend their religion against the attacks of such Christian missionaries as John Wilson, considered the Gathas to be the only texts and only authoritative scriptures that could be attributed to Zoroaster.[9]

[6]

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