Zoroastrianism

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By tradition, Zoroaster in what is now Iran, was born in 628 BCE. This religion was one of the first to focus on existence on Earth as part of an epic battle between the forces of Good and the forces of Evil.

Today, the direct descendants of Zoroaster's religious movement are the Parsiis of India who emigrated to the Bombay area about a thousand year ago. But, the historical importance of the religion with monotheistic tendencies, is that influence it had on the Hebrew population in exile as slaves in Babylon (Iraq) around 587-537 BCE.

A few Biblical scholars who examine the Bible in a historical-literary approach to the Bible see Zoroaster as the primary source for the Christian theology of the Devil and Hell. In contrast, the Hebrew Bible, when read in the Jewish tradition, is strictly monotheistic, it makes little reference to the influence of a unified force of evil in the world, makes only passing reference to demon possession, and generally assumes that human are quite capable of mucking the world up without the help of the Devil. G_d is not so much universally good, as a free actor who can be sometimes loving and at other times wrathful or tormenting for reasons of his own. Many references in the Hebrew Bible which are viewed by Christians as references to Hell or the Devil (e.g. the references to Bezzlebaub and Lucifer and Satan) are considered misinterpreted by the Christians by those who read the Bible in the tradition of Judaism.

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