Nepal: Christianity spreading in the thick of religious tensions

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Christianity is on the rise in Nepal, while at the same time religious tensions are augmenting. Although, the growth of Christianity is not as marked as in China and Africa yet the Good News is being preached and heard by a significant number of people.

Christianity in Himalayan region

This growth in Church is well illustrated by the facts when compared the census records which showed that back in 1951, there were no Christians in the country. The number rose to 458 Christians in Nepal, ten years later in 1961. After forty years, in 2001, the number of Christians had risen to 102,000. In 2011, ten years later the official number of Christians in the country rose to 375,000.

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Nonetheless, the Christian leaders of Nepal, are claiming that the figure according to the 2011 census did not portrayed the accurate number as per their record. In this regard, the International Institute for Religious Freedom reported that Nepalese Christian leaders are of the opinion that the figure of Christian population in census of 2011, is miscalculating the real number of Christian by a factor of six: in place of 375,000 Christians there are approximately 2.3 million Christians in Nepal.

If this be the case, then the official percentage of Christians in Nepal is about 10 percent of the total population, which contradicts the government’s official numbers of 1.5 percent. Despite Hindu majority, Nepal is a secular country. Nevertheless, the constitution of Nepal has an element which could pinch Christian evangelists.

The Nepalese law states: “no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another and shall not take actions or behave in a way that would create disturbance in another’s religion.” In accordance with this law, evangelism has become a treacherous job, notwithstanding Christianity is spreading and the Good News is being preached to those not reached yet.