Z is for Zoroastrianism

Z brings us to Zoroastrianism, an ancient Iranian religion and philosophy. It arose in the 7th Century BC when Zoroaster, a religious philosopher, simplified the pantheon of gods into two opposing forces – one all good and one all evil. His views led to the creation of Zoroastrianism, a religion nowadays with somewhere between 145,000 and 2.6 million followers worldwide (particularly in India), and influenced many monotheistic religions.

Zoroastrians believe that life is only a temporary state. Prior to birth a person’s soul (urvan) was united with its guardian spirit (fravashi), during life the fravashi is a guardian or protector, but after death (though not until the 4th day), the urvan and fravashi are reunited in the spiritual world.

On entering the spiritual world each person will face judgement and their actions on earth determine whether they are taken by a beautiful sweet-smelling maiden to paradise, or by an ugly foul-smelling woman to the abyss of hell (hell is reformative and those who go there are not damned for eternity). After 3000 years the dead will be raised by the final saviour of the world (Saoshyant) for their final judgement and good will triumph over evil. All who are saved will become immortal and the earth will rise up to meet the heavens.

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