Scott Douglas Jacobsen
GAMAAN — the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran — conducted a survey on the attitudes of Iranians towards religion. It was done between June 6th and 21st of 2020. Over 50,000 respondents took part in the survey.
Respondents were based out of Iran mostly (about 90 percent), literate, and above the age of 19, while having “95% credibility level and credibility intervals of 5%” for the survey. Looking at religion taps into some associated political concepts. One of the more presumptuous ideas about Iran is that it is entirely a nation of people who believe in a supernatural, governing, designing, and maintaining, entity: God.
Seventy-eight percent of Iranians believe in God, with less than half of that believing in an afterlife (37%), heaven and hell (30%), jinns (26%), and a coming saviour (26%). Twenty percent do not believe in a God, an afterlife, heaven and hell, jinns, and a coming saviour. Sixty percent of Iranians report not praying, and 40 percent vary in their frequency (devotion) to the level of praying, “among whom over 27% reported praying five times a day.”
GAMAAN reported, “While 32% of the population identifies as Shi’ite Muslim, around 9% identify as atheist, 8% as Zoroastrian, 7% as spiritual, 6% as agnostic, and 5% as Sunni Muslim. Others stated that they identify with or follow Sufi mysticism, humanism, Christianity, the Baha’i faith, or Judaism, among other worldviews. Around 22% identified with none of the above.”
Indeed, half of Iranians, based on the survey, report losing religion from personal life. Forty-one percent report their religious beliefs were stable throughout their lives, while six percent changed “from one religious orientation to another.” About 6 in 10 Iranians come from a family who were religious believers in God and approximately 3 in 10 have a believing but not religious family. Less than 3 in 100 (not a typo) grow up or are raised in an anti-religious home.
Sixty-eight percent believe that religious prescriptions should be separate from state legislation; secularism appears as a fundamental desire to most Iranians. Only 14 percent think the laws of the country should be governing religious prescriptions, in “accord” with one another. Further, “71% hold the opinion that religious institutions should be responsible for their own funding. On the other hand, 10% think that all religious organizations, irrespective of their faith, should receive government support, while over 3% say only Islamic institutions are entitled to such benefits,” GAMAAN stated.
Around 4 in 10 Iranians believe religions should have the right to proselytize with only four percent believing in the exclusive right for Muslims. Another approximately 4 in 10 believed in a blank ban on religious proselytizing across the board. Fifty-six percent wanted secular education or did not want their children to have religious education. As GAMAAN reports, “58% said they do not believe in the hijab (Islamic veil covering the hair) altogether. Around 72% opposed the compulsory hijab, while 15% insist on the legal obligation to wear the hijab in public.”
To the nightlife and drinking culture of Iran, there is “legally enforced alcohol temperance.” However, thirty-five percent of Iranians drink “occasionally or regularly” and 56 percent do not drink alcohol at all.
Check out the full report here.