Thought Archive

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ramadan Post 4: Zoroastrian eschatology

[15.10] And certainly We sent (apostles) before you among the nations of the past

The Middle East, that cradle Civilization gave us a first concept of End of the World, in what was originally a monotheistic religion. By 500 BC, Zoroastrians had fully developed a concept of the end of the world through a divine devouring in fire. According to Zoroastrian philosophy, redacted in the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht, "at the end of thy tenth hundredth winter...the sun is more unseen and more spotted; the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth is more barren; and the crop will not yield the seed; and men ... become more deceitful and more given to vile practices. They have no gratitude."
"Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith...and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night..and it will rain more noxious creatures than winter."
Saoshyant (Messiah), the Man of Peace, battles the forces of evil. A resurrection will then occur, and the righteous will live in peace for eternity while evil will be condemned to an eternal existence within molten metal. The righteous will, "wade through the metal as if warm milk," while the evil are scalded.
At the end of the Battle between the righteous and wicked, a Final Judgement of all souls will commence. Sinners will be punished 3 days, but are then forgiven. The world will reach perfection as poverty, old age, disease, thirst, hunger and death are halted.

Parallels to Christian and Islamic eschatology are obvious. Another interesting similarity in Islamic ahadith is tha the concept of Bridge of Judgement, As-Sirāt (Arabic: الصراط), also called Sirat al-Jahim which is is, in Islam, the hair-narrow bridge, which every person must pass on the Day of Judgement to enter Paradise. It is said that it is as thin as a hair and as sharp as a sword. Below this path are the fires of Hell, which burn the sinners to make them fall before they get to the gates. The guardians of the Chinvat bridge in Zoroastrian eschatology are Sarosh (Obedience), Mithra (Covenant) and Rashnu (Justice).

3 comments:

NoolaBeulah said...

I have no problem with this eschatology provided it is postponed indefinitely. This is what religions generally do. The Messiah, the Day of Judgment will come. But not yet. That's OK.

But what happened with the apocalyptic ideologies of the 20th Century (Communism and Fascism) is that they wanted the Big Day, and the paradise to follow, brought forward from the indefinite future to NOW, or at least, tomorrow. The Islamists have inherited this justification for slaughter.

As a religious belief, it's OK. As a political one, it's a disaster.

Hazar Nesimi said...

The great differents between ideologies that demand something now and the ones who wait for salvation is the absense of spirituality that develops character. All of them compensate with harsh exterior, for empty interior. If you ever wondered what keeps me in religion it is not fear but faith.

Riri said...

In my opinion religion/revelation is essential to provide humans as conscious beings (as opposed to animals who have no consciousness to speak of) with the equivalent of physical laws which govern matter. Being conscious and having the capacity to make judgement, plans for the future, build civilizations etc endows us with what many call a soul/spirit, and it is not illogical to conclude that just like matter, our souls have their instruction manuals which if they deviate from they will perish, they need maintenance and up-keeping just like any material posession. Now how do we establish which instruction manual to follow is a different story. It all depends whether you are willing to accept Divine Revelation as one of the sources source of ultimate knowledge.