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Deep dive into "any other religion" part 3: Zoroastrianism

Sarah Butler

10th May 2023

Welcome to Part 3 of this blog series, exploring the ‘any other religion’ option of the 2021 Census (the religion data was released in November 2022).

“No religion” was the second most common response, increasing by 12.0 percentage points to 37.2% (22.2 million) from 25.2% (14.1 million) in 2011. However there were 405,000 (0.7% of the overall population in England and Wales) who chose to write-in a response through the "Any other religion" option: 4,000 of these individuals wrote Zoroastrian as their religion.

So, this week we explore Zoroastrianism, which is an ancient Iranian belief system. This BBC article provides an excellent overview of the key beliefs of this Iranian religion.

The following key tenets of Zoroastrianism definitely transmit some worthy norms and values. I have a feeling Durkheim would approve!

  • - Vohu Manah - Good mind and good purpose.
  • - Asha Vahishta - Truth and righteousness.
  • - Spenta Ameraiti - Holy devotion, serenity and loving kindness.

Zoroastrianists also believe in one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning 'Wise Lord'). He is compassionate, omniscient, omnipotent and the creator of life. This fits with a substantive definition of religion, which generally insists that a religion must include a supernatural being, and answer key questions about the world.

Curious to know more about the lifestyle, sacred elements, rituals and ceremonies of a Zoroastrian in contemporary society? Watch this twenty minute clip about Jeni, a Zoroastrian teen in America!

Sarah Butler

Sarah is an experienced Head of Social Sciences, EPQ Coordinator and Sociology examiner.

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