Nepal is home to one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. Much of this growth comes from the political opening of the country in 2008 when Nepal stopped being a Hindu kingdom and became a secular democracy. Much of this growth is among Nepal’s low caste communities. Hindu radicals in Nepal claim foreign missionaries are using aid and money to trick low caste people into converting, but much of this claim is a false narrative aimed at making religious conversions altogether illegal. Will Nepal’s Christian population continue to grow in the face of this persecution?
08/18/2017 Nepal (World Religion News) – The claim is proved by statistics in the World Christian Database. In 1951, the landlocked Asian country had no Christians in its population. In 1961, there were 458 Christians living and in 2001, the numbers jumped to 102,000. In 2011, the number rose substantially to 375,000. Other sources suggest the number is actually much higher.
John Pudaite, President, Bibles For The World, said the principal reason for the spurt in the Christian population in Nepal was politics. He pointed out that for a long time, Nepal was subjugated under a restrictive monarchy. When Nepal finally became a democracy, its citizens found that they could choose what they want to believe. Pudaite asserted that only Christ’s message of truth and mercy appeals to many, thus making the Church to grow quickly.
The secular truth is different. Nepal was and still is a predominantly Hindu country. The caste system in Hinduism drove many lower castes to embrace Christianity. Although Nepal outlawed the caste system in 2001, discrimination based on caste continues to thrive, more so in the rural parts of the country. People at the lower end suffer systematic abuse. This abuse persisted from one generation to another, with no sign of abatement. A majority of converts come from the lower castes, and missionaries point out to them that converting is the only way to escape this tortuous cycle.