Major World Religions

This article describes several of the major world       both written before 250 AD, and the Puranas (an-
religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Shinto,         cient tales), from the same period. Within the
Islam, Taoism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism.        Mahabharat is the Bhagavad-Gita, currently the
American Christians, especially those living in         favorite textbook of Indian thought.
larger cities, are experiencing considerable contact    THE MAIN BELIEFS OF MODERN HINDUISM
with people from many countries and cultures. A
                                                        During the later Vedic period (after 1000 BC), the
knowledge of the basics of world religions can be
                                                        doctrines of karma and transmigration became
valuable when building acquaintances with non-
                                                        permanent in Hindu thought. These teachings
                                                        assert that after death the soul of man will be re-
These notes are compiled from a number of               born into another existence predetermined by the
sources, including Encyclopedia Brittanica, as well     thoughts and actions of the present life. Karma is
making use of a study of World Religions by the         the law of sowing and reaping. Transmigration is
Moody Bible Institute,                                  the belief that all life is essentially the same,
                                                        whether vegetable, animal, or human. The con-
                                                        cept is that somehow the soul appears as an indi-
Hinduism is the oldest living religion. Hinduism        vidual entity, caught in a process that will lead it
has no founder, no central authority, and no fixed      through many lives. When the final effect of the
creed. There are about 350 million followers, al-       last action is completed, the soul will be reab-
most all living in India. The beginning of Hindu-       sorbed into the Infinite. There is no continuance of
ism was associated with the Indo-Aryan invasion         individuality.
of India approximately 2,000 years before Christ.
                                                        Caste appeared at about the same time, probably
These early immigrants to India worshipped the
                                                        as a result of segregation because of skin color or
powers of nature and assigned personalities to
                                                        because of occupation. There are four main caste
them. Idolatrous features of existing local reli-
                                                        divisions: Brahmans, or priests; Kshatriyas, or
gions were also absorbed by this religion and sur-
                                                        warriors; Vaisyas, or artisans; and Sudras, or serv-
vive on popular Hinduism today.
                                                        ants. Outside of these castes are the untouchable
THE HINDU SCRIPTURES                                    outcastes.
Nature worship of the early Aryan period (from          The four main castes are divided into some 300
about 1500 BC) was codified and gradually com-          subcastes which are in turn broken down into
bined with the Brahmanas (up to 600 BC) and the         thousands of subdivisions. Even the outcastes
Upanishads (up to 300 BC) to form the Sruti litera-     have a multitude of divisions among them.
ture, the "revealed wisdom". The most important
                                                        Caste rules originally exercised rigid control over
document is the Rig-Veda, said to be the oldest
                                                        occupation and social contacts. Today in India
religious book, put into writing during the 8th
                                                        change of occupation is more common and many
Century BC. It is composed mostly of prayers ad-
                                                        caste restrictions have been lessened. The Indian
dressed to the personified powers of nature.
                                                        constitution forbids, on paper at least, any discrim-
The Brahamanas came with the development of             ination on a caste basis. But the major points of
priesthood and contain instructions for priests.        caste distinction are still intact.
The Upanishads are philosophical and abstruse.
                                                        In Hinduism, polytheism and idolatry are extreme.
They present Brahma, the sole Reality, the immor-
                                                        The number of gods worshipped is said to be more
tal, infinite, eternal, inscrutable, impersonal Abso-
                                                        than 300,000,000. Vedic Hinduism of the early
                                                        Aryans personified the powers of nature by had
Other important sacred books are called Smriti,         no idols not permanent temples. From the con-
"tradition". These include the Laws of Manu (250        quered peoples came animism and totemism. Re-
BC), the great epic poems Ramayana (story of the        form movements, Jainism and Buddhism, for ex-
god Ram) and Mahabharat (Great Indian War),
Religions                                                                                                      2

ample, arose during the 6th Century BC. These            Three Ways of gaining moksha, or deliverance are
religions added "personal saviors".                      recognized:
Brahamanism responded to these new religions by          1.   The Way of Works (karma-marga) - consistent
personalizing the impersonal, and Brahma the                  obedience in carrying out ceremonies, sacrific-
Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the De-              es, pilgrimages, etc., to accumulate merit.
stroyer appeared.                                        2.   The Way of Knowledge (gyan-marga) - in-
From Vishnu came avatars, or incarnations, de-                volves profound philosophical thinking. Sal-
picting various aspects of being or power. Of nine            vation comes with the flash of realization of
incarnations, the chief are Rama and Krishna. In              the oneness of all things.
some parts of India, Shiva is predominant. With          3.   The Way of Devotion (bhakti-marga) - de-
his consorts he represents life energy in all aspects.        mands ardent personal devotion to a particu-
In other sections, Vishnu and his incarnations are            lar deity above all others. This is the most
prominent.                                                    common Way and is emphasized in the Bha-
The average Hindu is unlimited in his polytheism              gavad-Gita.
and not exclusive in his worship. Each god has
helpers, offspring, sacred animals or birds, sym-        JAINISM
bols, etc. On a lower level are the nature gods -        Jainism is considered to be an aspect of Hinduism
Usha the dawn, Surya the sun, Agni the fire, etc.,       and is the oldest religion which originated in India
with various deities under them! Lower still are         and was founded by a person. Jainism has about
hordes of local gods and demons. These unite to          1.5 million followers.
make Hinduism the most idolatrous religion               The founder of Jainism was Vardhamana (599 to
known.                                                   527 BC), who became Mahavia (great hero) of Jain
PHILOSOPHICAL HINDUISM                                   ("the victor") following his enlightenment. He was
The Six Darshanas, or philosophies, were formu-          a prince of the Kahatriya caste. He renounced the
lated after 600 BC and are based largely on the          world at age 30 and undertook a life of extreme
Upanishads. The Bhagavad-Gita, written much              asceticism in search moksha, "freedom from re-
later, amplifies and continues the teachings of the      birth." Reaching the desired state in 12 years, he
Upanishads. The most influential systems are:            spent the remainder of his life in winning converts.

•   The Vedanta, which stresses absolute monism          Some distinctives of Jainism:
    (that there is only one Reality)                     •    Pluralism - matter and spirit are eternal. The
•   Sankhya, which is dualistic (spirit and matter            individual is uncreated and indestructible.
    are eternal                                          •    Atheism - denial of any creator or supreme
•   Yoga emphasizes physical techniques for un-               being.
    ion with the Infinite.                               •    Autosoterism - salvation purely by personal
Through the 19th Century "incarnation" of Rama-               effort. Prayers and worship do not help.
krishna, the teaching of the ancient wise man            •    Ahimsa - non-injury, or extreme reverence for
Shankara is being disseminated in the West. This              all living things. This is considered the highest
teaching is described as a monistic philosophy,               of all good, and has become the outstanding
according to which Brahma (or Brahman) is the                 characteristic of Jainism.
ultimate and only Reality. He is consciousness, he       •    Isatpragbhara - the highest heaven, is the place
is existence, he is the soul of every human being,            where the soul dwells in eternal and conscious
creature, and object. Salvation comes through                 individuality.
philosophical speculation and meditation leading
to the realization that Brahma and one's self are        •    Jainism retained the basic doctrines of karma
one and the same. Any concept of ego or individ-              and transmigration, but sought to eliminate
uality is simply a phase of maya, or "illusion."              caste, with only partial success.

Religions                                                                                                     3

BUDDHISM                                               The Tripitaka, or "Three Baskets," were transmit-
Buddhism is the first religion to become interna-      ted orally from Buddha's time and written in the
tional. There are between 250 and 500 million fol-     Pali language probably during the 2nd Century
lowers today.                                          BC. The Three Baskets are the Vinaya, containing
                                                       monastic rules; The Sutra, teachings of the Bud-
The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gauta-          dha; and Adhidharma, metaphysical commen-
ma (560 to 480 BC), a prince of the Kshatriya caste    taries on the teachings. Added to these is a large
of Hinduism. At age 29 he decided to seek the          body of literature, some in Sanskrit, containing
answer to the problem of sin and suffering. The        many legends and much philosophizing.
way of philosophical speculation being unsuccess-
ful, he took the path of extreme bodily asceticism.    TWO MAIN SCHOOLS OF BUDDHISM
After five futile years he resorted to less rigorous   Hinayana, the Lesser Vehicle (Southern Bud-
practice. At 35, while seated under the bodhi tree     dhism), is generally closer to the original teach-
in meditation, he experienced enlightenment and        ings. Salvation of the individual is emphasized,
became the Buddha, the "enlightened one." Dur-         and only the original Pali scriptures are accepted.
ing the remained of his life, he preached the Mid-     This school is found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thai-
dle Path to Enlightenment, or nirvana, the place of    land, Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam. Distinctive
freedom from rebirth. He died at 80, with about        features are:
500 disciples.                                         •   The saffron-robed monk is conspicuous. He
The Buddhist Middle Path to salvation from re-             follows the Path as set in the early scriptures.
birth demands true knowledge of the Four Noble         •   A reverent attitude toward relics and images
Truths. These are:                                         of the Buddha is maintained.
1.   Existence entails suffering                       •   Monasteries are frequented by monks and by
2.   Suffering is caused by inherently insatiable          laymen who periodically enter to live as did
     desires.                                              the Buddha.
3.   Desire must be suppressed in order to end         •   Another Buddha named Maitreya will come to
     suffering and existence.                              enlighten the age as Gautama did his.
4.   The way to do this is to follow the Eightfold     •   Thousands of inferior deities have been add-
     Path, which forms the heart of Buddha's teach-        ed, depending on the religious background of
     ing: right views (beliefs); aims (intentions);        each country.
     speech; action; livelihood (living); self-        Mahayana, the Greater Vehicle (Northern Bud-
     discipline; self-mastery; and concentration       dhism), has as its goal the salvation of all things
     (contemplation).                                  and is noted for its adaptability and radical depar-
ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF BUDDHISM                         ture from the original tenets. Found in Japan, Ko-
Gautama's concern was conduct, not worship. He         rea, China, Nepal, Tibet, and Indonesia. The fol-
apparently acknowledged the possibility of gods        lowing features are distinctive:
and demons but said nothing about them.                •   Buddha is worshipped as the supreme Reality,
The delusion of self and questions as to whether           the divine Being, or as an avatar, an incarnate
the soul exists has been a source of quarrel among         savior.
Buddhists for centuries. The ego is composed of        •   There is an innumerable company of bodhisatt-
five constantly changing skandhas, or states of be-        vas - men who have attained nirvana but post-
ing. While there is no permanent ego-entity, what          pone entrance in order to help mankind.
a person does has its effect upon his future. Kar-     •   Prayer is addressed to images of these bodhi-
ma and transmigration are accepted doctrines.              sattvas.
Nirvana, the "place of passionless peace," where       •   Maitreya will be the next Buddha.
all desire has ceased, all karma has been complet-
ed, and there is no more rebirth.                      •   Heavens and halls in the afterlife are vividly
Religions                                                                                                   4

SECTS OF THE MAHAYANA SCHOOL                                  •   Celibate priests, called lamas, live in mas-
1.   The Pure Land sect                                           sive monasteries. Head lamas are reincar-
                                                                  nations of the souls of predecessors.
     •   Found in China and Japan
                                                              •   The Dalai Lama is the supreme head of
     •   The central figure is Amida, a Buddha                    church and state
         who presides over the Pure Land, or
         Western Paradise                                 ISLAM
     •   The Pure Land of Bliss is the Western re-        Islam claims more than 400 million followers, nu-
         gions is the ultimate goal                       merically second to Christianity. Its founder was
     •   Faith in Amida assures entrance to the           Mohammed (AD 570 to 632) who was born in
         Pure Land. Good works are unnecessary.           Mecca, Arabia. Troubled by prevalent idolatry, he
                                                          spent much time in lonely meditation. After re-
     •   Rules for living are few. Clergy live nor-       peated visions, he believed himself called to
         mal lives, not separated from the world.         preach the religion of the one absolute God (Al-
2.   Zen, the intuitive sect                              lah), the Creator, Ruler, and Judge of the universe.
     •   Dhyana, the Sanskrit word for meditation,        Mohammed migrated to Medina when he experi-
         became Ch'en in China and Zen in Japan.          enced heavy opposition in Mecca. This migration,
     •   Salvation is to be found within. The true        known as the Hegira, marks the beginning of the
         Buddha nature is within one's own heart.         Islamic Era. Mohammed's Rule of God expanded
                                                          from Medina, and by 630 he was the rule of all
     •   Reason cannot give truth or reality. The         Arabia. during the following century Islam be-
         koan, an irrational question to baffle the       came supreme is the Near East, North Africa, and
         mind, is used to facilitate enlightenment.       Spain.
     •   Zazen , the method of meditation, is simi-       ESSENTIAL BELIEFS OF ISLAM
         lar to Yoga in Hinduism
                                                          A Muslim is literally "one who submits to the will
     •   The goal is satori, a flash of intuition, such   of God." Islam demands Iman, or belief in the ar-
         as achieved by Gautama.                          ticles of faith, and Din, the practice of religious
     •   Zen is rigidly individualistic, needing no       duties. The Iman consists of the following doc-
         temples, monasteries, or images. Simple          trines:
         living and self-discipline are advocated.        •   There is no god but Allah. (Allah is Arabic for
3.   Nichiren, the socio-political sect                       God). Greatest possible stress is laid on God's
     •   Nichiren was a militant and intolerant re-           oneness. He is without an equal, absolutely
         former of the 13th Century (AD) in Japan.            sovereign, and omnipotent.

     •   Salvation is to be found only in the Lotus       •   Angels are Allah's messengers. They are sin-
         Sutra, a Sanskrit scripture called also the          less beings who were created out of light and
         Gospel of the Pure Law.                              have life, speech, and reason. Of four archan-
                                                              gels, Gabriel is the medium of inspiration, the
     •   Highly emotional and extremely national-             revealer of Allah's truth. The devil, called
         istic in practice                                    Shaitan or Iblis, is an angel who fell through
     •   Has numerous subsects which are strong               pride. Other beings are the jinn, or genii.
         in Japan                                             They are created out of fire, and may be good
4.   Lamaism, or Tibetan Buddhism                             or evil. Demonic genii serve the devil.

     •   A mixture of Tantrism, Shamanism, and            •   The books "sent down" from Allah numbered
         sorcery                                              104. Only four remain: Tauret (Pentateuch)
                                                              given to Moses; Zabur (Psalms) given to Da-
     •   Uses prayers wheels, mills, and flags                vid; Injil (Evangel) given to Jesus; and Koran
     •   Extensive demon worship, with many                   (given to Mohammed). The first three have
         buddhas and bodhisattvas                             been corrupted and have been replaced by the
                                                              Koran, which contains all the necessary
Religions                                                                                                    5

The Koran, uncreated and eternal, was brought to        built into one corner, is said to have fallen from
    the lowest heaven on the Night of Power and         heaven in Adam's day.
    Excellence and given piecemeal to Moham-            Jihad, or holy war - religious war against infidels
    med as occasion demanded.                           is plainly taught in the Koran.
•   Major and minor prophets are innumerable.           Polygamy - Islam limits number of wives to four at
    Twenty-eight are named in the Koran, includ-        one time. Divorce is easy to obtain (for men), and
    ing Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and          women have few rights in orthodox Islam.
                                                        Sins of ignorance and of childhood are not real
•   Resurrection and the day of judgment will be        sins. Great sins (such as murder, adultery, diso-
    literal for all men. There are seven heavens        bedience to Allah or to parents, drunkenness, etc.)
    and seven hells.                                    must be repented of before forgiveness can be ex-
Predestination of good and evil is the keystone of      pected. Little sins (lying, anger, lust) are offset by
    Islam. Everything is by the decree of Allah.        prayer and good deeds. The unpardonable sin is
    His will is certain, arbitrary, irresistible, and   associating any other divinity with Allah.
    inevitable.                                         MAJOR ISLAMIC SECTS
•   The Five Pillars of Islam are obligatory duties.    Mohammed is said to have predicted that his fol-
    1.   Recitation of the Kalima, the creed, "There    lowers would be divided into 73 sects. A Muslim
         is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his       authority has been quoted as estimating the num-
         prophet."                                      ber at about 150.
    2.   Prayer: recitation of the five daily prayers   The Sunnis are followers of the Sunna and are the
         (passages from the Koran) must be pre-         orthodox. They comprise 50% of all Muslims.
         ceded by ceremonial washings, with face        The Shi'as, also called Imamiyyas, are the most
         turned toward Mecca, with a specified          important of the heretical groups. They reject the
         posture, and Arabic language.                  first three caliphs (successors to Mohammed) and
    3.   Fasting: especially during the month of        follow Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed)
         Ramadan, ninth month of the lunar calen-       and his successors, the twelve Imams. The last of
         dar. Abstinence is required from eating,       the Imams disappeared in 940 and is to reappear
         drinking, bathing, smoking, smelling per-      as the Mahdi to restore Islam. Shiites are the ma-
         fumes, etc., between sunrise and sunset.       jority in Iran where the Shi'a faith is the state reli-
         Feasting is permitted during the night.        gion.
    4.   Almsgiving: a compulsory percentage of         The Sufis are the mystics of Islam and seek for
         property owned must be given to the            truth by inward search leading to enlightenment.
         poor, homeless, debtors, slaves, tax collec-   They have been accused of pantheism.
         tors, etc.                                     The Ahmadiyyas were founded by Mirza Ghulam
    5.   Pilgrimage to Mecca: required once in a        Ahmad (1839 to 1908) who claimed to be the
         lifetime for those who are able.               Imam-Mahdi. This is the strong current mission-
OTHER ESSENTIALS OF ISLAM                               ary arm of Islam, although considered heretical.

Traditions - Sunna, "custom or usage of the Proph-      SHINTO
et" - supplement or interpret the Koran. This is the    Shinto and Japan are inseparable. Most of Japan's
oral law, the second foundation of Islam. Collec-       120 million people were born into Shinto. Shinto
tions of traditions are the Hadith containing rec-      is based on the concept of the divine origin of land
ords of conduct and sayings of Mohammed or the          and people, and it has coexisted and intermingled
Companions, the first generation of Muslims.            with Confucianism and Buddhism for 1400 years.
Circumcision - the rite of initiation among all Mus-    EARLY HISTORY OF SHINTO
lims. It is not mentioned in the Koran.
                                                        The period of Pure Shinto was from about 660 BC
Kaaba - a cube-shaped building in the center of the     to AD 552. Nature worship was associated with
mosque in Mecca. The black stone, a meteorite
Religions                                                                                                 6

worship of the land. Unpainted, unadorned,             of the celestial race. There is no concept of sin.
wooden shrines were centers of worship, having         Since the people are naturally good (!), the ques-
no images, sacred book, doctrines, or code of laws.    tion of right and wrong does not arise. Culture is
The indefinable kami, similar to a feature of Ani-     concerned with shame and saving face rather than
mism, was everywhere. Divinities were multiple         with the problem of evil. Loyalty, as expressed in
and everywhere, in addition to ancestors. Wor-         exact correctness of action and thought, is a basic
ship was coupled with reverence for local and na-      concept.
tional rulers.
The later history of Shinto is dated from the en-
trance of Buddhism in AD 552. Buddhism entered         Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism were rec-
by way of China and Korea and existed as a sepa-       ognized as official religions in pre-communist
rate religion. Images, incense, sermons, and elabo-    China. Originally a philosophy, Taoism became a
rate ceremonies were introduced. Mixed Shinto,         religion shortly before the Christian era began. It
called Dyobo, the twofold way of the gods, was         is fast disappearing in China, its only sphere of
developed. During the 17th Century, pure Shinto        influence.
was revived. The central truth was that the Em-        Taoism is the oldest personally founded religion in
peror is the direct descendant of the gods. No         China. The founder, Lao-Tzu (604 to 517 BC) em-
other nation was entitled to equality with Japan.      phasized a return to the primitive simplicity of
The Emperor Meiji in 1882 disestablished Bud-          nature, a quiet and personal search for the Tao, the
dhism and made Shinto the state religion. State        eternal, impersonal, mystical, supreme principal
Shinto, with the divinity of the emperor as symbol,    that lies behind the universe.
became a national institution in which all were        The symbols yin and yang are notable from Tao-
expected to participate regardless of religion. In     ism.    These are the "two interacting energy
1945 State Shinto was disestablished, and the em-      modes", the yang being masculine, active, warm,
peror declared himself to be mortal. Shinto has        dry, and positive. The yin in feminine, dark, cold,
regained its strength since World War II, with an      inactive, and negative. Everything that exists is
estimated 90,000 shrines.                              constituted by the interplay of these two modes of
The Shinto scriptures, Ko-ji-ki, "Records of Ancient   energy.
Matters" (AD 712), and Ni-hon-gi, "Chronicles of       The religion of Taoism bears little resemblance to
Japan" (AD 720), trace the mythical history of Ja-     the philosophy of Lao-Tzu, being characterized by
pan and of the imperial line.                          superstition, extreme animism, witchcraft, astrolo-
According to the Ko-ji-ki there are 800 myriads        gy, demonism, and ancestor worship.
(one myriad = 10,000) of gods. "Kami" signified in     CONFUCIANISM
early Shinto anything that was awesome or power-
                                                       Confucianism is really a philosophy of life, not a
ful, with meaning so vast and all-inclusive as to be
                                                       religion. The main concern of Confucius (551 to
beyond definition. The sun-goddess, Amaterasu
                                                       446 BC) was with human relationships, the science
Omikami, holds divine preeminence and the em-
                                                       of government, and ethics within the social order.
peror is said to be directly descended from her.
                                                       He acknowledged the being of God (called Heav-
Nature gods are innumerable in Shinto, with many
                                                       en) and the place of religion, but he added little to
beautiful shrines throughout the land, each being
                                                       that field.
approached through the distinctive torii gateway.
                                                       The Superior Man was the ideal to be followed.
Festivals and ceremonies are connected with the
                                                       Confucian temples idolized the found as this Ideal
seasons and harvest. Worship is almost exclusive-
                                                       Man. Since there was no separate priesthood,
ly individual and consists of prayer, largely for
                                                       government officials performed priestly functions.
material blessings. Personal cleanliness is of pri-
                                                       These included nature worship, veneration of
mary importance. Ancestor worship is common to
                                                       Confucius, the emperors, and the ancestors, in
each home.
                                                       elaborate ceremonies. There were five relation-
No Shinto book contains any code of morals. Eth-       ships indispensable to life. These existed between
ics and morals are based on the idea of the divinity   ruler and subject, father and son, husband and
Religions                                                                                                 7

wife, elder brother to younger, and friend with      its are associated with them, and Ormazd will ul-
friend.                                              timately triumph.
The Confucian scriptures, called The Classics and    The use of sacred fire in formal worship, symbolic
The Four Books, were compiled by Confucius and       of light and purity, has brought the designation
are collections of his sayings. They contain no      "fire worshippers," which Zoroastrians repudiate
teaching regarding a future life. These books,       with vehemence.
however, are thought to be the most important        The bodies of the dead are exposed within towers
influence in the development of the Chinese ideal    to be consumed by vultures. The aim is to dispose
of character.                                        of the body without contaminating soil or water
ZOROASTRIANISM                                       with decaying flesh.
Zoroastrianism is the world religion that has the    High ethical morals are maintained. Salvation is
closest association with Bible history. The kings    by works. A future savior is expected. There will
Cyrus, Ahasuerus, and Darius of Persia were Zo-      be a bodily resurrection of all dead. After the final
roastrians.                                          judgment, the wicked will be purified by fire.
                                                     Thus cleansed, they will go with the righteous to
The founder was Zoroaster, or Zarathustra (about     dwell forever in the new heaven and the new
660 to 583 BC), who was born in Persia. At the age   earth. All evil angels will be annihilated.
of 30 a vision of Ahura Mazda, the Supreme Being,
sent him forth to preach. Years of discouragement
and persecution ended when the Persian king was      For an index of topics, or information about regu-
converted in 618 BC. The last twenty years of        lar Bible studies, write to:
Zoroaster's life were spent in holy wars by which
                                                     Warren Doud
he sought to promulgate his religion. Later de-
                                                     Grace Notes
scendants have raised the founder to a supernatu-
                                                     1705 Aggie Lane
ral position deserving of worship, with a miracu-
                                                     Austin, Texas 78757
lous birth and miracle-working powers.
                                                     E-Mail: wdoud@bga.com
The Avesta is the inclusive name of the Zoroastri-   URL: http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/
an scriptures. The religion is basically a cosmic
                                                     There is no charge for Grace Notes materials. The
dualism with good and evil in eternal opposition.
                                                     work is supported by Christians who pray for the
The Supreme Being, Ahura Mazda, or Ormazd, is
                                                     ministry and share in the expenses.
the god of light. He is in constant battle with
Angra Mainyu, the bad spirit. Good and evil spir-

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