Date: September 06, 2004 04:54AM
Zoaroastrianism is not a problem. Their membership is relatively small, mostly in Western India (where they are known as 'Parsis') and another community in Iran, mostly in the city of Yazd. Some live in the West, and will most likely be found in areas with a vibrant South Indian community--eg Silicon Valley?Northern California.
Zoarostrians do not do aggressive outreach--or even much outreach at all, which is why they may in danger of disappearing in a few more generations, as more and more of their children marry outside the community.
One is usually born a Parsi--one reason why they are such a small group. Their history is ancient, and Judaism and Christianity would be unrecognizable, had it not been for Zoarastrianism. Ditto for Islam.
Search for them on Google. This websiste is to assist persons concerned by groups that have a well-documented track record of abuse.
The Zoroastrians are not on anyone's complaint list. Quite the contrary. According to the Lonely Planet Guide to India, the Parsis were even called in as respected third parties to mediate disputes between Muslims and Hindus!
A seminary professor of ours tried to help us understand that, underneath all thier different belief systems, fanatics have a similar psychology.
His comment also applies to cults vs legit spiritual organizations:
'Same hardware, different software'
--hardware referring to the social and physical methods of coercion, deceit, indoctrination, black/white thinking, manipulation of mood
--software--the content of the belief system.
What makes a cult a cult is its 'hardware'--its social process/use of physical environment, not its software.
One group can use the King James Bible and be a church
Another group can use that same bible and function as a cult.
Read more on the part of the website that deals with 'Mind Control'
The finest, most honorable spiritual tradition can be perverted into a mere form of indoctrination, if used to disguise and legitimate a coercive social arrangement.
Orthodox Christianity is a completely legitimate spiritual tradition. Yet there are some variant forms of it that have gone in cultic directions--you can read about all this on the website www.pokrov.org
As another example, when properly understood and practiced, Zen Buddhism is AGAINST any form of indoctrination. Yet Zen practices were perverted and tweaked to create a format for militarism and indoctrination in pre-WWII Japan--described by Brian Victoria in his book Zen at War.