The body has the way. The mind loses the way.
Zoroastrians follow a threefold path, and I will roughly summarize. Good works, good intentions, and good understanding, and their practices serve not so much as any form of placation of the divine, as much as a way of dedicating themselves to their intentions and educating themselves in right understanding.
“The road to hell is paved with…”? That’s a Christian doctrine, and a number of Christian assertions probably arose to differentiate their faith from Zarathustrianism. An attempt at moral fault finding perhaps. Judaism shares more in common with its cousin there than Christianity does. To the point where they have a long standing tradition of doctrinal debate as it is believed in their faith that if a teaching is truly inspired by god then no thread of logic can find fault in it.
I think that saying is supposed to be a snarky comment about people who don’t follow through with their intentions. Good point. It’s part of why Zarathustranism rejects any monastic path, because it’s a key element of their faith that the right intention and right understanding be followed through with right action. To withdraw from the world for them is to practice a sin of omission. The teachings of their faith are not as well documented as those of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. They do have the Avesta, but a good portion of their beliefs are preserved instead in their traditions. One point of difference between followers is whether or not any of the newer writings are even valid doctrine.
Is it true that you cannot convert into or marry into their faith? It’s not an official point of doctrine, but they do widely hold those views. But again a point of clarification, not being allowed to convert to their faith is not seen as a point of condemnation. In their view, being a member of their faith doesn’t determine whether or not you go to heaven or hell, just your deeds and character.
They see no point in arguing over who has a genuine god or not, because Ahura Mazda is the immanent good or virtue in all people. If you demonstrate good you demonstrate god, in their belief. They see god in all of creation, and they see Ahriman also. Whereas god is seen as all creative power and all order, Ahriman is all chaos and destruction. So their practice does involve and has involved elements of what could be called natural philosophy. Astrology for them is just observance of the expression of behaviour of Ahura Mazda.
Where is this practised in the world? Various small Iranian communities, and by the Parsi people of India.
There are tiny communities in America too. Yes, the faith is by no means gone, just small. This is a big part of why the native Egyptian faith didn’t survive. They had a view that required a closed culture.
Let’s take a more familiar story and example, the three Magi from the Bible. The reverence they showed Jesus would not have been a violation of their faith, but rather a natural extension of it as their cosmology would not require the rejection of the sacred in other cultures.
The sacred is sacred however you chose to name it. Yes.
I read a concept in a sci fi novel that described a ‘morality arrow’ through time. That morality – as we evolve – will encompass more and more over time. That sounds like this belief. Yes, that would describe it.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.