· Their theology has had a great impact on Judaism, Christianity and other later religions, in the beliefs surrounding God and Satan, the soul, heaven and hell, saviour, resurrection, final judgment, etc.
· It is one of the oldest religions still in existence,
· It may have been the first monotheistic religion.
· The religion was founded by Zoroaster
· Scholars aren’t sure when Zoroaster was born but they believe it was between 1700 and 600 B.C.E.
· Much of what is known about Zoroaster is based on legend, because many historical records are unreliable
· He lived in Persia which is modern day Iran
· He preached monotheism in a land that followed a polytheistic religion.
· Zoroaster preached that there was one God, whom he called Ahura Mazda. Ahura means “Lord,” and Mazda means “Wise,” so Zoroastrians call God the “Wise Lord.”
· Ahura Mazda’s main rival is Angra Mainyu, this rivalry represents the battle between good and evil in all of us.
· He was attacked for his teaching, but finally won the support of the king.
· Zoroastrianism became the state religion of various Persian empires, until the 7th Century C.E.
· The Zoroastrian holy book is called the Avesta
· This includes the original words of their founder Zoroaster, preserved in a series of five hymns, called the Gathas.
· Fire is a very important symbol in Zoroastrianism. It represents God and helps Zoroastrians focus when they are praying.
· Zoroastrianism does not teach or believe in reincarnation or karma.
· Zoroastrians believe that after life on earth, the human soul is judged by God as to whether it did more good or evil in its life.
· Zoroastrians are dedicated to a three-fold path, as shown in their motto: “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds”
· There are approximately 140,000 Zoroastrians in the world
· There are approximately 12,000 Zoroastrians in North America
· There are approximately 4,000 Zoroastrians in Ontario.
· In Ontario, the main community gathering place is the Darbe Meher at Bayview Ave. and Steeles Ave. in Toronto.