Religion and Science

Many Zoroastrians, both in India and the West, are scientists, and find no conflict between their scientific knowledge and their religion. Zoroastrian Scientists believe the Hymns of Zoroaster do not contradict scientific law, (the only exception to this being his teaching on creation and judgement after death at the Chinvat Bridge). Some of the myths in the later Middle Persian (Pahlavi) literature are accepted as figurative and therefore are not seen to disagree with current scientific thinking.

This more abstract interpretation of belief finds no difficulty with science but the more traditional Parsis nevertheless believe that science is concerned with different issues from their religious belief and so the two are not in conflict.

Because of the belief in the Good Creation everyone has a religious obligation to care for it and many Zoroastrians claim they were the first environmentalists and put a religious value on the world. A number of American Parsis are scientists who declare their work is to bring about a greater appreciation of creation. However, it is still uncommon for Zoroastrians to discuss links between religion and science. The rare exception to this was in the early 20th century following the publication of A Modern Zoroastrian by Samuel Laing. In 1890 Laing argued that, with the discovery of electricity and the recognition of the positive and negative forces associated with this, Zoroastrian beliefs of dualism of good and evil had been vindicated. For Zoroastrians, it is this conflict between good and evil that causes the most thought. Therefore, the discovery of positive and negative forces in association with electricity’s powerful magnetism led to discussion among Zoroastrians of the link between science and religion.

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Zoroastrianism

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