A Dictionary for Believers and Nonbelievers by Progress Publishers

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The figure was adopted by the Jews from Persian religions. ASSASSINS (Arabic "hashshashin", pl. of "hashshash" meaning "hashish addict"), a terrorist, religious-cum­ political organization (or order) which broke away from the Shi'ite sect of the lsmailis at the end of the 11th century. The residence of the Assassins was the mountain fortress of Alamut in Northwest Iran. Their teaching spread through Iran, Syria and the Lebanon. Its typical feature was the deification of the imam the leader of the movement.

The main task of Marxist atheism is to evolve such scientific concepts, cul­ tural values and moral ideals as can make Man's inner life richer and raise his political awareness. Rooted as it is in the findings of the natural and social sciences, Marxist atheism affirms the view of life's purpose, of the prospects for his­ torical development, of the future on earth that awaits mankind, which, on the one hand, rejects all religious and theological interpreta­ tions and, on the other, provides a scientificaJly substantiated resolu­ tion of these fundamental questions of human existence, encouraging men to believe in their own poten­ tial, enhancing their self-respect and helping them guard against fu­ tile dissipation of their energies and potential.

The legends of the Star of Bethlehem and the seven stars in the Apocalypse are examples of vestiges of astral cults to be found in Chris­ tianity. ASTRAL THEORY. See Naturistic theory. ASTROWGY, the belief in the in­ fluence of celestial luminaries on the life a�d destiny of individuals and peoples; the technique of divining events from astronomical observa­ tions. It came into being in Ancient Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. Astro­ logers claimed that it was possible to predict the destiny of individuals and the outcome of imminent events according to the position of the stars and other heavenly bodies and ·these claims attracted wide-scale atten­ tion.

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