Christianity India

Caste discrimination and money are causing Hindus to convert to Christianity in Nepal.
Nepal’s Christian population is rising at a scorching pace.

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.

It is clear that the rise in number of Christians are pushed by motivations which appear to be linked to health, poverty and most of all, discrimination. Critics point out that conversions are speeded up due to moneyed missionaries coming into the picture. These missionaries were most seen in the aftermath of the disastrous earthquakes which ravaged Nepal in 2008. They became increasingly active, putting more converted Nepali Christians into their fold, and consequently increasing the church numbers. It helped that these foreigners emphasized Christianity's healing powers, and finished the shamans' charismatic power along with the traditional rituals.

Many non-Christian religious leaders believe that money is an important reason behind conversion. They said that those who converted into Christianity did so only due to greed. They pointed out that who were converted received money, free blankets, rice and clothes.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter