Zoroastrian Diversity

There are different schools of thought with very different interpretations of Zoroaster’s teaching. Generally speaking these can be classified into two distinct groups. First, the orthodox, who accept the authority not just of the holy book the Avesta, but also the later priestly Pahlavior Middle Persian literature, vigorously oppose intermarriage and emphasize the importance of keeping the body and spirit pure. A second group is the more liberal or reforming Parsis who emphasize the words of the prophet while rejecting much of the later material, put less emphasis on physical purity, are more open to intermarriage and argue that conversion should be allowed. Iranian predominantly urbanized, Zoroastrians emphasise the teaching of Zoroaster as promoted in the Gathas and reject teaching in the later priestly Pahlavi literature.

Indian and Iranian faith communities are naturally different from those in the Diaspora. Iranian and Indian Zoroastrians continue to live in close-knit neighbourhoods (baugs) built by Parsis for Parsis, physically enhancing the sense of community. However, for the Diaspora this is less true as they are scattered around the big cities of America, Australia, Britain and Canada, making social networking more difficult. These communities arrange numerous religious and social events in order to bring followers together. By belonging to the community members inspire each other to live up to the ideals of the religion with each providing support for the other in the contemporary world.

Some of those who have migrated west have been influenced by western thought so for example, American Zoroastrians accept converts whereas in India, they do not.

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