By Michael Ashcraft –
Iran is no longer a Muslim nation, declares former Iranian Muslim Dr. Hormoz Shariat, who has broadcast the gospel into Iran for 23 years.
“I’m working with the people of Iran daily. I am in touch with them. I evangelize them. I answer their questions,” Dr. Hormoz says on a Voice of the Martyrs video on YouTube. “Iran is no longer an Islamic nation.”
Dr. Hormoz’s audacious statement contradicts Iran’s official census data (which says the nation is 98% Muslim) but coincides with an online scientific survey which pegs the Muslim believers at 37 % (32.2% Shi’ite and 5% Sunni branches of Islam).
His declaration also runs counter to the perception of outsiders that Iran is a hostile extremist nation whipped into a furor to carry out the wrath of Allah.
But his observations are significant. As someone who interacts online daily with common people in Iran, he’s a man with his ear to the ground.
For years, Christian observers have speculated about wide scale revival in Iran based on scant data that emerges from Iran.
Dr. Hormoz’s assessment goes well beyond what has been previously reported and upends the way many view Iran. His observations may be useful when Christians pray for Iran.
However, his hopeful appraisal doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a change of government. The Iranian authorities suppress the population with an ironclad fist. The case of Syria is illustrative: while many heralded the downfall of the Syrian autocrat during the so-called “Arab Spring uprising” of the early 2010s, the dictator clung to power through brutal military repression.
Nor does the decline of Islam in Iran mean everyone is turning to Christ. According to the scientific survey only 1.5% of the current population identifies as Christian. Meanwhile, a whopping 22.2% say they adhere to no religion, while 8.8% classify themselves as atheist.
All caveats aside, the news is heartening. Iran is far from the Islamic monolith of the Iranian propaganda.
“One-third said either God is not relevant to my life, is not important, or there is no God,” Dr. Hormoz says. “The last one-third were looking all over the place. They were looking at New Age religions, Eastern religions, all kinds, and Christianity, of course. But everything but Islam; they are not looking for Islam.”
After 40 years of repressive Shariah law-rule, Iranians are disillusioned with the government’s decades-old failure to solve the problems that existed under the Shah.
“Iran is the only nation in the world led by Islamic clerics. They implemented Islam in every aspect of life. They have laws for your bedroom, your bathroom. They invade every area of your life,” Dr. Hormoz says. “Iran will never be an Islamic nation. The hatred, the rejection of Islam is so wide and deep, people are no longer coming back to it.”
Part of Dr. Hormoz’s research includes monitoring blogs of Iranians. “They write, ‘To have a future for Iran, we have to get rid of Islam,’” he says. “They are militant against Islam.
“If there was a referendum today in Iran majority, maybe even over 90% will vote for secular democracy,” Dr. Hormoz adds. “They don’t want religion in the nation. Some of them even are saying ‘no religion,’ they are anti-religious, but most of them say ‘religion, but it is personal, not in the public place.’”
Christians are still persecuted in Iran. But if the jails get too full, the authorities can’t arrest everybody in the nation.
Thus, a taxi driver who converted to Christ gets off every time they arrest him, Dr. Hormoz says.
“When they arrest me, which they have done a couple times, I tell them, ‘It wasn’t my fault that Jesus came to my dream. He came. It is his fault,” Dr. Hormoz narrates the taxi driver speaking. “‘I didn’t ask. He just came, and he healed me (of cancer), and now I am just telling people that Jesus came to my dream, and he healed. I am not telling lies. I am just telling what happened to me. If you have a problem, just go talk to Jesus; it is not my fault.’”
In contrast to government persecution of Christians, persecution from the family – a big problem in most Muslim nations – is virtually non-existent in Iran, Dr. Hormoz says.
“If somebody comes to Christ, rarely you see persecution, very rare,” he says. “Most often, the rest of the family either come to Christ or they say, ‘Good for you. I am not interested.’”
Many have come to Christ through Dr. Hormoz’s channel, Iran Alive Ministries, which broadcasts Christian content 24/7 via satellite into Iran. Dr. Hormoz boasts 1 million viewership in a nation where attending church is illegal.
He says people can feel the love of Christians on the channel.
“The greatest weapon we have against Islam is love because Allah has 99 names; none of them is love,” he says. “So love is powerful.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
About this writer: Michael Ashcraft is a financial professional in California.