- Christianity in Nepal
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Protestant Christians came to Nepal primarily through the Nepalese who were living outside of Nepal during and prior to the Rana Regime. After the collapse of Ranas rule in Nepal in 1950, Nepali Christians living in India came in, along with some western missionaries. United Mission to Nepal, International Nepal Fellowship and others are a few earliest western mission agencies that came in and brought Christianity. According to the government data, Protestantism accounts for about 0.45% of the population, but the unofficial number of Christians, including Catholics is between 700,000 to a million. In 2011, the BBC estimated the Christian population to be "less than 5%" of the total population of Nepal, which is roughly 30 million.
State of the Church in Nepal
Until 1990, most of the church groups in Nepal were united with few exceptions like Assembly of God and Church of Christ. But the democratic changes of 1990 brought relative freedom to practice one's faith. This freedom contributed towards a proliferation of various denominations and groups. Church as a whole in Nepal is an indigenous phenomena with no direct involvement of foreign missionaries. Nepalese themselves took upon the challenge of sharing the gospel and churches came into existence. However, missionaries began to enter the open doors in the decades since 1990.
As a result of missionaries and foreign missions, there are a plethora of foreign funded churches and mission groups in Nepal. Although the church leadership appears to be Nepali in nature, but the Nepali Christian leaders have adopted some of the names and practices as demanded by their donors. The state of the Protestant church in Nepal is a divided house. The single most cause of division has been the leaders' desire to tap in foreign donation. Doctrinally, Nepali church is very much like the New Testament Church and there is hardly any theological debate taking place in Nepal. The denominational division taking place is not for doctrine but for money.
Although the Maoists are responsible for the deaths of many Nepalise, the secularisation of Nepal is largely due to their revolution. Persecution during the Maoists war was not a wholesale rejection of Christianity, it was rather related to individual cases where the Christians refused to co-operate. For that they would persecute anyone, not just Christians. By and large, the church in Nepal continues to enjoy relative freedom and Nepali population is very tolerant of their presence.
Christianity is still considered a foreign religion by the majority of Hindus and Buddhists. If any family member becomes Christian, he or she is sure to face severe opposition from the family and even be completely ostracised by them. Much of the hostility towards Christians stems from the fact that Christians are associated and often in the guise of communists that have terrorized the Nepali population
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- ^ "Nepal". International Religious Freedom Report 2004. September 15, 2004. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/35518.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-18.
- ^ a b c "Nepal Christians plan hunger strike over burial ground". BBC. 2011-10-31. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15517207. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
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