Rules and Ethical Guidelines

The primary ethical value which Zoroastrians is to practice good thoughts, words and deeds. However, this clearly raises the question, what makes something good or evil? Good is considered to be anything which is life supporting conducive to order, harmony (asha) and peace. Anger, lust and greed are emotions regarded as evil because they threaten this order. That which is good is how Ahura Mazda created it and is each individual’s duty to care for. This Good Creation encompasses the environment, the animal world and other people, and Zoroastrians believe it their duty to fight evil in all its forms, both physical and spiritual.

The fundamental feature of the Zoroastrian moral code is to be good and to do good, and the community is expected to practice these virtues in every-day life. One who follows the way of asha is an ashavan, leading as righteous and virtuous life as he or she is able.

Thus, Zoroastrians aim to be caring, generous, truthful (a term for evil is ‘the Lie’) and trustworthy. For believers, untruthfulness is a form of evil.

Zoroastrians aim to identify with the personified qualities of the Divine:

With holy spirit and best thought, with action and word in accordance with truth, they shall offer Him integrity and immortality. The Ahura (Lord) is Mazda (wisdom) though (His) power (and) holy devotion (Yasna.47:1).

Zoroastrians adopted Aristotle’s idea of the Golden Mean. This is the idea that virtue is the mid-point between opposing vices, thus extremes of asceticism and debauchery are to be avoided.

Many Zoroastrians are doctors because they believe that by keeping people healthy they are better able to do the work of Ahura Mazda. However, working as a doctor often involves making difficult decisions, for example, the ethical, moral and sinful implications of euthanasia and abortion. Sin for Zoroastrians is thinking, saying or doing anything which adversely affects any part of the Good Creation.

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