A lot of people, both religious and philosophical, like to refer to Manichaeism.
Naturally very few of them have any idea what it is.
St. Augustine was deeply influenced by Manichaeism. So he hated women and reproduction.
Manicheism was developed by a third-century gentleman named Mani in what is now Iraq. It was a synthesis of the minor, struggling faith of Christianityand the all-powerful religion of Zoroastrianism.
It is hard to overstate how enormous Zoroastrianism, the religion of Persia, was in the third century. At that time Christianity was one of the competing sects in the Roman Empire, while Zoroastrianism had been the official religion of the equally large Persian Empire for over a thousand years.
That is why the Magi are in the Book Of Matthew. Everybody then knew what Magi were.
Everybody knew that Magi were not “wise men from the East.” That came in later transaltions of the Bible when nobody knew any real Biblical history. When the Book of Matthew was written everybody knew that a Magus was clergyman of the most powerful religion on eath, Zoroastrian, the official faith of the Persian Empire.
Have you ever heard of Thermopylae, where the Persians invaded ancient Greece?
Have you ever heard of Xerxes? Have you ever heard of King Cyrus of Persia, who was praised in the Old Testament as a non-Jew who was doing God’s work?
They were Zoroastrians. And in praising Cyrus the Jews were taking a ride on the back of a much greater religion.
So was Mani. Mani wanted to take a ride on the back of Zoroastrianism to promote Christianity.
Zoroastrianism said that there was Ahriman, The God of This World, and Ahura-Mazda, the Good God.
The New Testament says that Satan tempted Christ by offering him all the kingdoms of the earth. Did you ever wonder why everybody back then took it for granted that Satan COULD offer Jesus all the kingdoms of this world?
Of course you didn’t.
Everybody then knew that Satan was the God of This World. He OWNED all the kingdoms if THIS world. He was Ahriman.
So when Mani wrote in the beginning of the beginning of the third century, he was trying to show how St, Paul’s Christianity, which was competing for power in the Roman Empire, was the same as the religion of all-powerful Persia.
Both St. Paul and Zoroastrianism, said Mani, rejected This World, the domain of Satan and Ahriman, for the next word, the World of Ahura-Mazda and the Father Jesus spoke of.
Satan/Ahriman, the God of this World, wanted men to be obsessed with making themselves immortal by procreaing children in THIS world, the world of Satan/Ahriman.
Saint Paul abhorred both women and procreation. St. Paul and Mani wanted men to stop procreating. They wanted chastity. They demanded sterility. Every pleasure of THIS world was also condemned by Mani.
That is Manichaeism.
I have no idea how much of this is truly Zoroastriansim. After over a thousand years, I am sure there were many versions of Zoroastrianism.
But the idea that this world is evil is, to me, as sick as the Jehovism of the Old Testament.