“I know exactly what I’m doing!”
So said a young Iranian calling in during a live broadcast on Iranian television. The on the air host advised him to be cautious with his decision, to which he responded: “Would you keep me from the truth about life in Christ? The state can kill me for this, but I have nothing to lose. I can only win…”
It appears that the Iranian population has become immune to government threats, and many are willing to accept the harsh consequences for conversion. Spiritual despair and longing for hope in Iran are huge. The quest for both spiritual and temporal freedom continues unabated.
You might recall that several Christians were released from Iranian prisons in recent months. Unfortunately, approximately 100 more Christians are still detained and not much has improved for Christians in Iran.
In spite of this, young Iranians are boldly turning to Christianity to find hope in increasing numbers. Iranian Christian TV channels and pastors, such as the one who received this zealous young caller, report that they are completely surprised how quickly Muslims convert to Christianity in Iran – although they expect the worst from their decision to follow Christ.
Indeed, the human heart is restless until it finds its hope in Christ.
Some things that influence Iran’s culture:
- The official language is Persian. This puts Iranian Muslims on the margins of the Middle East’s Islamic diaspora, which values Arabic as it primary and most holy language.
- The population is majority Shia Muslim in Iran, but a minority of only 10-13% among the world’s Sunni Muslims. There is longstanding historical animosity between Sunnis and Shias.
- Drug abuse and prostitution are rampant, with the highest rates in the Islamic Republic world.
- Much of Iran’s population lives in extreme poverty (up to 70 percent), and 12 million go to bed hungry every night.
- There is a vibrant arts subculture with an emphasis on protest, street graffiti, rap and hip hop.