Naughty or Nice?
|It Will Come||
Do not worry about how the good that has been planned for you will come.
It will come.
Do not worry, obsess, think you have to control it, go out hunting for it, or tangle your mind trying to figure out how and when it will find you.
It will find you.
Surrender to your Higher Power each day. Trust your Higher Power. Then, stay peaceful. Trust and listen to your
self. That is how the good you want will come to you.
Your healing, your joy, your relationships. Your solutions. That job. That desired change. That opportunity. It will come to you–naturally, with ease, and in a host of ways.
That answer will come. The direction will come. The money. The idea. The energy. The creativity. The path will open itself to you. Trust that, for it has already been planned.
It is futile, a waste and drain of energy, to worry about how it will come. It is already there. You have it already. It is
in place. You just cannot see it!
You will be brought to it, or it will be brought to you.
|THE RIGHT ONE||
First we must allow our Heavenly Father to do the picking. And second, the decision for a mate must be made on a spiritual and intellectual basis before it’s made on an emotional one.
“What about love? Shouldn’t that be the third? You ask. No, and I’ll tell you why. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
The heart is willful and is driven by its own agenda. It does not consider things rationally and intelligently it just loves to love! Therefore you have to point it in the right direction: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
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|Meaning Of Life||
by Shanel Yang
What is the meaning of life? It depends on what you mean by “meaning.” If you mean where did we come from, that’s a metaphysical, religious, or spiritual question. If you mean what is the purpose of living, or how should we live our lives, the answer depends on who you ask.
This article is about the purpose of life, or how we should live our lives and why. As usual with me, I start with a little research to answer such tough questions. I ask, “How have others who have gone before us answered this question?”
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|THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (OF THE ETHICAL ATHEIST)||
1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thou art told.
2. Thou SHALT seek knowledge and truth constantly.
3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science.
4. Thou SHALT NOT forget the atrocities committed in the name of god.
5. Thou SHALT leave valuable contributions for future generations.
6. Thou SHALT live in peace with thy fellow man.
7. Thou SHALT live this one life thou hast to its fullest.
8. Thou SHALT follow a Personal Code of Ethics.
9. Thou SHALT maintain a strict separation between Church and State.
10. Thou SHALT support those who follow these commandments. 1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thou art told.
Humans are generally very gullible. We believe are sorts of false statements, stories, reasoning, etc. We even continue to believe falsehoods after they have been proven untrue. History is full of amazing hoaxes often supported by religion and the teachings of the Church or by others seeking power, popularity or fortune. We have been told the Earth was flat and has four corners which, if not careful, we may fall off. We have been told that the Earth is the center of the Universe. We have been told that sky if a fixed, firm structure to which the sun, moon and stars are affixed. We have been told that personalities and future events are predictable using astrology, card reading, crystal balls and palm reading. We have been told of prophecies by Nostradamas. We have been told of speaking with the dead, the dead rising, life after death, reincarnation and bending spoons, to name only a few. We must be more skeptical in what we are told, what we read and what we are exposed to through the various forms of broadcast media. When exposed to something new, do NOT accept what you hear without facts to support it. There are other agendas at work in your deception. You must always be on guard to protect yourself and your knowledge.
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Tarot is probably the most well known divination method, and is therefore probably one of the first systems that people try, get used to, and use the most.
Tarot is believed to have started in France and it spread accross the world with the travellings of man. The main use of the Tarot is to not only look into the future, but to help analyse your present and reveal people’s past event so that events happenning in the present can be explained more clearly. The ways that Tarot work have many different views as well. Some people believe that when divining with Tarot, the answer is already in your subconscious mind and is brought forward with the use of the Tarot. On the other hand, some people like to believe that when they consult the Tarot they make a conection with the Spirits and the answer is revealed in the cards by them. Either way, what you want to believe is up to you, there is no right or wrong answer.
The Tarot is split up into two main sections, the Major Arcana containing 22 cards and the Minor Arcana holding 56 cards.
The Major Arcana is made up of twenty-two cards numbered from ‘zero’ (The Fool) to ‘twenty-one’ (The World). The Major Arcana represents the larger and more prominent events in a person’s life, whether it be past, present or future. Some people when they start using the Tarot choose only to use the Major Arcana until they get used to using them. This choise is usually made because people feel daunted by the sheer amount or cards in the whole Tarot deck. This is not an unwise choice to make, even though smaller events will be missed from a reading, the larger events will be easier to pick out. Once a user becomes used to the Major Arcana they usually move on to using the Minor Arcana as well.
The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits, very much like a deck of playing cards. These suits are, Swords, Wands, Penticles and Cups. Becuase there are so many versions of Tarot, these siuts may be changed slightly, for example, Penticles may be shown as Discs, but the basic meaning is the same. The cards of the Minor Arcana symbolise the smaller, subtle yet visible events of a person’s life. Each suit is split up into ‘pip’ cards which run from Ace to Ten, each suit also contains four Court Cards, Page, Knight, Queen and King. As with magic, each suit is bonded to an element, Swords to Air, Wands to Fire, Penticles to Earth and Cups to Water. The character of the card and the element it resides in determines its meaning. Any good Tarot deck will include a booklet of meanings.
Even though the whole Tarot Deck contains 78 cards and may seem too much to handle, frequent use and reading of the menings will help lodge the meanings into your mind. The general meaning can be seen in the picture within the card, so the best thing to do is read the meaning and attribute certain parts of the meaning to certain parts of the card.
|Harnessing the power of winds||
The power of air can add a major punch to your magic. If you plan to do some magickal workings on a windy day, it would benefit you to find out which direction it is blowing.
East Winds provide an excellent opportunity for spells dealing with change, transformation, new beginnings, fresh perspectives and creative adventures. This is also a good time for spell and ritual writing and talking things over with your spiritual guide.
South Winds are best for relationship, love and lust spells and workings where anger, jealousy and selfishness need to be resolved.
West Winds have a healing and cleansing quality. It is also a good time for strengthening the intuition and efforts involving both mental and physical fertility and productivity.
North Winds are of a practical nature, good for working with finances, home management and issues that require a level head. It’s a good time to plan spells to do when the wind changes.
|Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian||
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
|Nebraska state senator sues God in protest of another lawsuit||
Sept. 17, 2007 04:44 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. – The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere.
State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.
|Was Jesus Gay?||
by Roedy Green ©1996-2007 Canadian Mind Products
If Jesus behaved to today as he did then, he would most certainly be labeled gay. There are two other related questions, was his sexual preference male and did he have sex with males. These two are much harder to answer.
This essay is mostly based on a public post by Rafael Romero of Victoria BC.
Modern day Christians attempt to deter homosexuality by denying civil rights to gay citizens. This flagrantly violates the golden rule: Matthew 7:12, Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets, but that does not seem to put the slightest damper on any Christian’s righteous indignation.
Ironically, there is some evidence that Jesus himself was gay. I am not claiming Jesus was necessarily sexually active, only that his natural sexual orientation was toward males rather than females. There is no explicit mention of him having sex with anyone in the bible. The very notion of homosexual is a rather recent invention. Every society has quite different attitudes and taboos about same sex affection and sexual activity. What I am saying is that if Jesus were alive today, people would label him gay. His behaviour might have been considered well within male behaviour norms in his day. This essay then is more about how society’s standards of acceptable behaviour have changed since biblical times than about Jesus himself.
In other words, if Jesus came back today, the religious right would crucify him anew as a homosexual.
Taoist concepts, beliefs and practices:
* Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life.
* “The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment.” 4
* Each believer’s goal is to harmonize themselves with the Tao.
* Taoism has provided an alternative to the Confucian tradition in China. The two traditions have coexisted in the country, region, and generally within the same individual.
* The priesthood views the many gods as manifestations of the one Dao, “which could not be represented as an image or a particular thing.” The concept of a personified deity is foreign to them, as is the concept of the creation of the universe. Thus, they do not pray as Christians do; there is no God to hear the prayers or to act upon them. They seek answers to life’s problems through inner meditation and outer observation.
* In contrast with the beliefs and practices of the priesthood, most of the laity have “believed that spirits pervaded nature…The gods in heaven acted like and were treated like the officials in the world of men; worshipping the gods was a kind of rehearsal of attitudes toward secular authorities. On the other hand, the demons and ghosts of hell acted like and were treated like the bullies, outlaws, and threatening strangers in the real world; they were bribed by the people and were ritually arrested by the martial forces of the spirit officials.”
* Time is cyclical, not linear as in Western thinking.
* Taoists strongly promote health and vitality.
* Five main organs and orifices of the body correspond to the five parts of the sky: water, fire, wood, metal and earth.
* Each person must nurture the Ch’i (air, breath) that has been given to them.
* Development of virtue is one’s chief task. The Three Jewels to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility.
* Taoists follow the art of “wu wei,” which is to let nature take its course. For example, one should allow a river to flow towards the sea unimpeded; do not erect a dam which would interfere with its natural flow.
* One should plan in advance and consider carefully each action before making it.
* A Taoists is kind to other individuals, in part because such an action tends to be reciprocated.
* Taoists believe that “people are compassionate by nature…left to their own devices [they] will show this compassion without expecting a reward.”
Taoism has never been a unified religion and has always consisted of different teachings based on many different original revelations. Therefore different branches of Taoism often have very different beliefs. Nevertheless, there are certain core beliefs that all the schools share.
Taoist theology focuses on doctrines of wu wei (“non-action”), spontaneity, humanism, relativism and emptiness. This philosophical aspect of Taoism emphasizes various themes found in the Tao Te Ching such as naturalness, vitality, peace, “non-action” (wu wei), emptiness (refinement), detachment, the strength of softness (or flexibility), and in the Zhuangzi such as receptiveness, spontaneity, the relativism of human ways of life, ways of speaking and guiding behavior.
Main article: Tao
Tao can be roughly stated to be the flow of the universe, or the force behind the natural order.Tao is believed to be the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered. Tao is associated with nature, due to a belief that nature demonstrates the Tao.The flow of qi, as the essential energy of action and existence, is compared to the universal order of Tao. Tao is compared to what it is not, like the negative theology of Western scholars. It is often considered to be the source of both existence and non-existence
Tao is also associated with a “proper” attitude, morality and lifestyle. This is intimately tied to the complex concept of Te, or literally “virtue”. Te is the active expression of Tao.Taoism generally expresses this as “integrity” or “wholeness”. Tao is considered a “way”, while Te is the active living, or cultivation, of that “way”.
Main article: Wu wei
Wu wei (Traditional Chinese characters: ?? Simplified Chinese characters: ??) is a central concept in Taoism. The literal meaning of wu wei is “without action”. It is often expressed by the paradox wei wu wei, meaning “action without action” or “effortless doing”. The practice and efficacy of wu wei are fundamental in Chinese thought, most prominently emphasized in Taoism. The goal of wu wei is alignment with Tao, revealing the soft and invisible power within all things. It is believed by Taoists that masters of wu wei can control this invisible potential, the inate yin-action of the Way.
In ancient Taoist texts, wu wei is associated with water through its yielding nature. Water is soft and weak, it is noted, but it can move earth and carve stone. Taoist philosophy proposes that the universe works harmoniously according to its own ways. When someone exerts his will against the world, he disrupts that harmony. Taoism does not identify man’s will as the root problem. Rather, it asserts that man must place his will in harmony with the natural universe.
Pu is translated as “uncarved block” or “simplicity”. It is a metaphor for the state of wu wei and the principle of jian.It represents a passive state of receptiveness. Pu is a symbol for a state of pure potential and perception without prejudice. In this state, Taoists believe everything is seen as it is, without preconceptions or illusion.
Pu is seen as keeping oneself in the primordial state of tao. It is believed to be the true nature of the mind, unburdened by knowledge or experiences. In the state of pu, there is no right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. There is only pure experience, or awareness, free from learned labels and definitions. It is this state of being that is the goal of following wu wei.
Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe. The body ties directly into the Chinese five elements. The five organs correlate with the five elements, the five directions and the seasons. Akin to the “neoplatonic maxim” of “as above, so below”, Taoism posits that by understanding himself, man may gain knowledge of the universe.
In Taoism, even beyond Chinese folk religion, various rituals, exercises, and substances are said to positively affect one’s physical health. They are also intended to align oneself spiritually with cosmic forces, or enable ecstatic spiritual journeys. These concepts seem basic to Taoism in its elite forms. Internal alchemy and various rituals are intended to extend life, even to the point of immortality. Immortals, their actions and their relationships with the gods and natural forces form a significant portion of Taoist mythology.
The Three Jewels, or Three Treasures (Chinese: pinyin: sanbao; Wade-Giles: san-pao), are basic virtues in Taoism. The Three Jewels are compassion, moderation and humility. They are also translated as kindness, simplicity and modesty. Arthur Waley describes them as “[t]he three rules that formed the practical, political side of the author’s teaching”. He correlated the Three Treasures with “abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment”, “absolute simplicity of living”, and “refusal to assert active authority”.
The first of the Three Treasures is ci (Chinese; pinyin: cí; Wade-Giles: tz’u; literally “compassion, love, kindness”), which the Tao Te Ching parallels with familial and brotherly love. It is compared to loving others and the world as a person loves their own existence. The second is jian (Chinese: ; pinyin: jian; Wade-Giles: chien; literally “moderation, economy, restraint”), which the Tao Te Ching praises. Jian is connected with the Taoist metaphor pu. ( “uncarved wood; simplicity”). It represents perfect efficiency and simplicity of desire. The third treasure is the phrase bugan wei tianxia xian, meaning “not dare to be first in the world”. It is connected to a fear of death, out of a love for life. Taoism posits that to be first is to expose oneself to the world’s destructive forces. Remaining behind and embracing humility allows time for one to bear fruit.
Traditional Chinese religion is polytheistic. Its deities are part of a heavenly hierarchy that mirrors the bureaucracy of Imperial China. Deities may be promoted or demoted. Some deities are exalted humans. The particular deities worshipped vary according to geography and historical period, though the general pattern of worship is more constant.
There are disagreements regarding the proper composition of this pantheon. Popular Taoism typically presents the Jade Emperor as the head deity. Intellectual (“elite”) Taoists, such as the Celestial Masters sect, usually present Laozi (Laojun, “Lord Lao”) and the Three Pure Ones at the top of the pantheon. In particular Taoist systems, Hong-jun lao-zu (the great primal originator) is the common ancestor/teacher of all the deities.
While a number of immortals or other mysterious figures appear in the Zhuangzi, and to a lesser extent in the Tao Te Ching, these have generally not become the objects of worship. Traditional conceptions of Tao are not to be confused with the Western concepts of theism and monotheism. Being one with the Tao does not indicate a union with an eternal spirit in the Hindu sense, but rather living in accordance with nature.
The Daozang (Treasury of Tao) is sometimes referred to as the Taoist canon. It was originally compiled during the Jin, Tang, and Song dynasties. The version surviving today was published during the Ming dynasty. The Ming Daozang includes almost 1500 texts. Following the example of the Buddhist Tripitaka, it is divided into three dong (“caves”, “grottoes”). They are arranged from “highest” to “lowest”:
1. The Zhen (“real” or “truth”) grotto. Includes the Shangqing texts.
2. The Xuan (“mystery”) grotto. Includes the Lingbao scriptures.
3. The Shen (“divine”) grotto. Includes texts predating the Maoshan revelations.
Daoshi generally do not consult published versions of the Daozang, but individually choose, or inherit, texts included in the Daozang. These texts have been passed down for generations from teacher to student.
The Shangqing school has a tradition of approaching Taoism through scriptural study. It is believed that reciting certain texts often enough will be rewarded with immortality.In Taiwan, one often finds Buddhist texts being chanted in Taoist temples. Some Chinese movements and Western schools of Taoism emphasise newly-revealed scriptures.
While the Tao Te Ching is most famous, there are other important texts in traditional Taoism. Taishang Ganying Pian (“Treatise of the Exalted One on Response and Retribution”) discusses sin and ethics, and has become a popular morality tract in the last few centuries. It asserts that those in harmony with Tao will live long and fruitful lives. The wicked, and their descendents, will suffer and have shortened lives. Both the Taipingjing (“Scripture on Great Peace”) and the Baopuzi (“Book of the Master Who Keeps to simplicity”) contain early alchemical formulas that early Taoists believed could lead to immortality.
Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching, or Daodejing, is widely considered to be the most influential Taoist text. It is a foundational scripture of central importance in Taoism. It has been used as a ritual text throughout the history of religious Taoism. However, the precise date that it was written is the subject of debate, there are those who put it anywhere from the 6th century BCE to the 3rd century BCE.
Taoist commentators have deeply considered the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching. They are widely discussed in both academic and mainstream literature. A common interpretation is similar to Korzybski’s observation that “the map is not the territory”. The opening lines, with literal and common translation, are:
(dao (ways) can be way-ed, not usual ways)
“The Way that can be followed is not the constant Way.”
(names can be named, not usual names)
“The Name that can be named is not the constant Name.”
Tao literally means “road” or “way”, and can figuratively mean “principle” or “true way”. The philosophical and religious “Tao” is infinite, without limitation. One view states that the paradoxical opening is intended to prepare the reader for teachings about the unteachable Tao. Tao is believed to be transcendent, indistinct and without form. Hence, it cannot be named or categorized. Even the word “Tao” can be considered a dangerous temptation to make Tao a limiting “name”.
The Tao Te Ching is not thematically ordered. However, the main themes of the text are repeatedly expressed using variant formulations, often with only a slight difference. The leading themes revolve around the nature of Tao and how to attain it. Tao is said to be unnameable and accomplishing great things through small means. There is significant debate regarding which English translation of the Tao Te Ching is preferred, and which particular translation methodology is best. Discussions and disputes about various translations of the Tao Tao Ching can become acrimonious, involving deeply entrenched views.
Ancient commentaries on the Tao Te Ching are important texts in their own right. The Heshang Gong commentary was most likely written in the second century CE, and as perhaps the oldest commentary, contains the edition of the Tao Te Ching that was transmitted to the present day. Other important commentaries include the Xiang’er, one of the most important texts from the Celestial Master movement, and Wang Bi’s commentary.
What is the Bahá’í Faith?
Founded a century and a half ago, the Bahá’í Faith is today among the fastest-growing of the world’s religions. With more than five million followers, who reside in virtually every nation on earth, it is the second-most widespread faith, surpassing every religion but Christianity in its geographic reach. Bahá’ís reside in more than 100,000 localities around the world, an expansion that reflects their dedication to the ideal of world citizenship.
The Bahá’í Faith’s global scope is mirrored in the composition of its membership. Representing a cross section of humanity, Bahá’ís come from virtually every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic class. More than 2,100 different ethnic and tribal groups are represented.
Since it also forms a single community, free of schism or factions, the Bahá’í Faith comprises what is very likely the most diverse and widespread organized body of people on earth.
People of virtually every background, in every nation, have become Bahá’ís. Shown here is a gathering of Bahá’ís from the Cochabamba region in Bolivia. Many are members of the Aymara and Quechua indigenous groups.
The Faith’s Founder was Bahá’u’lláh, a Persian nobleman from Tehran who, in the mid-nineteenth century, left a life of princely comfort and security and, in the face of intense persecution and deprivation, brought to humanity a stirring new message of peace and unity.
Bahá’u’lláh claimed to be nothing less than a new and independent Messenger from God. His life, work, and influence parallel that of Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad. Bahá’ís view Bahá’u’lláh as the most recent in this succession of divine Messengers.
The essential message of Bahá’u’lláh is that of unity. He taught that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity. In this day, Bahá’u’lláh said, humanity has collectively come of age. As foretold in all of the world’s scriptures, the time has arrived for the uniting of all peoples into a peaceful and integrated global society. “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,” He wrote.
The youngest of the world’s independent religions, the Faith founded by Bahá’u’lláh stands out from other religions in a number of ways. It has a unique system of global administration, with freely elected governing councils in nearly 10,000 localities.
It takes a distinctive approach to contemporary social problems. The Faith’s scriptures and the multifarious activities of its membership address virtually every important trend in the world today, from new thinking about cultural diversity and environmental conservation to the decentralization of decision making; from a renewed commitment to family life and moral values to the call for social and economic justice in a world that is rapidly becoming a global neighborhood.
The Faith’s most distinctive accomplishment by far, however, is its unity. Unlike every other religion — not to mention most social and political movements — the Bahá’í community has successfully resisted the perennial impulse to divide into sects and subgroups. It has maintained its unity despite a history as turbulent as that of any religion of antiquity.
In the years since Bahá’u’lláh lived, the process of global unification for which He called has become well-advanced. Through historical processes, the traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation have steadily broken down. The forces at work, Bahá’u’lláh predicted, will eventually give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and assist in the creation of this new world.
For a global society to flourish, Bahá’u’lláh said, it must be based on certain fundamental principles. They include the elimination of all forms of prejudice; full equality between the sexes; recognition of the essential oneness of the world’s great religions; the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth; universal education; the harmony of science and religion; a sustainable balance between nature and technology; and the establishment of a world federal system, based on collective security and the oneness of humanity.
Bahá’ís around the world express their commitment to these principles chiefly through individual and community transformation, including the large number of small-scale, grassroots-based social and economic development projects that Bahá’í communities have launched in recent years.
In building a unified network of local, national, and international governing councils, Bahá’u’lláh’s followers have created a far-flung and diverse worldwide community — marked by a distinctive pattern of life and activity — which offers an encouraging model of cooperation, harmony, and social action. In a world so divided in its loyalties, this is in itself a singular achievement.
WHAT IS ZOROASTRIANISM?
Zoroastrianism is a religion founded in ancient times by the prophet Zarathushtra, known to the Greeks as Zoroaster.
Zoroastrianism was the dominant world religion during the Persian empires (559 BC to 651 AC), and was thus the most powerful world religion at the time of Jesus. It had a major influence on other religions. It is still practiced world-wide, especially in Iran and India.