Perspectives of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism on abortion: a comparative study between two pro-life ancient sisters

  • Kiarash Aramesh Assistant Professor, The James F. Drane Bioethics Institute, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, USA; Department of Biology and Health Sciences, College of Science and Health Professions, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, USA.
Keywords:
Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Abortion, Religious bioethics, Pro-life

Abstract


Hinduism and Zoroastrianism have strong historical bonds and share similar value-systems. As an instance, both of these religions are pro-life. Abortion has been explicitly mentioned in Zoroastrian Holy Scriptures including Avesta, Shayast-Nashayast and Arda Viraf Nameh. According to Zoroastrian moral teachings, abortion is evil for two reasons: killing an innocent and intrinsically good person, and the contamination caused by the dead body (Nashu). In Hinduism, the key concepts involving moral deliberations on abortion are Ahimsa, Karma and reincarnation. Accordingly, abortion deliberately disrupts the process of reincarnation, and killing an innocent human being is not only in contrast with the concept of Ahimsa, but also places a serious karmic burden on its agent. The most noteworthy similarity between Zoroastrianism and Hinduism is their pro-life approach. The concept of Asha in Zoroastrianism is like the concept of Dharma in Hinduism, referring to a superior law of the universe and the bright path of life for the believers. In terms of differences, Zoroastrianism is a religion boasting a God, a prophet, and a Holy book, while Hinduism lacks all these features. Instead of reincarnation and rebirth, Zoroastrianism, like Abrahamic religions, believes in the afterlife. Also, in contrast with the concept of Karma, in Zoroastrianism,  Ahura Mazda can either punish or forgive sins.

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Published
2019-08-05
How to Cite
1.
Aramesh K. Perspectives of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism on abortion: a comparative study between two pro-life ancient sisters. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 12.
Section
Original Article(s)