We’ve told you Iran is changing and now we know it’s a dramatic transformation. A first-of-its-kind survey reveals significant shifts in Iranians’ attitudes toward religious beliefs and their authoritarian government. For 14 days in June, two Dutch professors interviewed more than 50,000 Iranians online for an unprecedented survey covering topics from faith to politics to religious life. The authors say they discovered a huge shift that should fundamentally change how we look at Iran today. One major standout from professors Pooyan Tamimi Arab and Ammar Maleki is that despite Iran’s census claims that 99.5 percent of the population is Shiite Islam, only 32 percent of their respondents identified as such.
The next largest group is the “Nones” at 22%, which led the authors to conclude that Iranians are abandoning religion for secularism. “This survey is important because it puts data behind the argument that Iranian society is less religious,” Benham Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow with Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said. “This data proves that Iranian society is exceptionally less religious.” Approximately half of the population reported losing their religion. 60% said they do not pray anymore. Younger people reported higher levels of dissatisfaction with religion. In addition, an overwhelming number of respondents were critical of authorities using strict Islamic laws to govern daily life. For example, 72% of those surveyed opposed the law mandating all women to wear A hijab, the Islamic veil covering.
And when the authors dug a little deeper on questions central to that faith, even fewer numbers believed in the core tenants of Shia Islam. Only 37 percent believed in life after death. 30 percent believed in heaven and hell. An even lower number, 25 percent, believed in the coming of their Islamic saviour known as the Mahdi or 12th Imam.”All of these trends: the push back on the hijab, the lack of belief in the coming of the Mahdi, the lack of the willingness to identify with Schism, the willingness to identify with other faiths, are all a result of politics in the past 40 years of the Iranian government,” Taleblu said. “As the Islamic Republic has tried to shove religion down the throat of Iranians to mask their authoritarian grasp on power, you’ve seen Iranians contest their authoritarianism by contesting faith itself.”
The survey also revealed that as Islam diminishes, Christianity grows. 1.5% of those surveyed identified themselves as Christian. “That compares to 30 years ago when less than 1% identified as Christian” said Mike Ansari who runs Mohabat TV, a ministry that broadcasts the Gospel into Iran. He says the survey is significant because it lends credence to what mission groups have been saying for years. “It indicates that in the midst of persecution and Islamic rule, Iranians are turning their back on their institutional faith and receiving Christianity” Ansari said. Iran is one of the world’s most dangerous places for Christians and other minority faith groups. Yet the survey found that 41% of respondents believed ALL religions should have the right to publicly proselytize and around 54% said it was a good idea for their children to learn about other faiths at school.
Source: CBNNewsPrint This Post