The New Student's Reference Work/Zoroaster
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Zoroas'ter is the name of the founder of what is known as the Parsi religion of ancient Persia. He seems to have been born in Bactria, but most of the legends concerning his history are utterly unreliable. Even the time when he lived is uncertain, but it may be safely asserted to have been as early as 1000 B. C.; possibly he was a contemporary of Moses. The fundamental idea of Zoroaster's creed is its dualism. At the beginning there existed two spirits: Ormuzd, who represented the good, and Ahriman, the evil. Ormuzd is light and life, law, order, truth and all that is pure and holy; while Ahriman is darkness, falsehood, corruption, evil and death. These two spirits are represented as in perpetual conflict for the mastery of the world; but the final triumph of Ormuzd, the good spirit, is promised to comfort the hearts of all the faithful. Other features of Zoroaster's system of doctrine may be briefly mentioned: (1) the principal duty of man in this life is to obey the word and commandments of God; (2) disobedience is punished with the death of the sinner; (3) those who obey the word of God will be free from all defects; (4) men should pray to God and worship, as He always hears the prayers of the good; (5) the souls of the pure and good will enjoy everlasting life, while those of the wicked will suffer everlasting punishment.