PALS | Asia

India

India is one of the most populated countries in the world, numbering over 1.2 billion people. Out of all these people, only 5.8% are Christians. 74% are Hindu and 14% are Muslim. Besides the caste-system discrimination still persisting, religious freedom has recently come under threat. Poverty touches hundreds of millions of people in India. Extremist Hindus are dangerous in India; they have gained strong political power and have begun promoting revisionist history. Their motto is “India is Hindu only.” Christianity is, however, growing though it is unequally spread.

 

Myanmar (Burma)

Burma, also known as Myanmar, has a population of 50.4 million, as of 2010. 8.9% are Christian while 80% are Buddhist and 7% Muslim. Technically, there is “freedom of religion” in their constitution, though Christians suffer greatly at the hands of the military. Two-thirds of its children are malnourished and most people live on less than $1 per day. The average income per person is $446. In 1990, Myanmar held elections for a leader, but then arrested the winning candidate. There is increasing curiosity from Buddhists, particularly monks, towards Christianity. This is a very spiritual country, which contradicts the government, particularly the military junta. There is systematic violence towards minorities, that leads to rape, torture, destroyed villages, and general condemnation. Christianity is labeled the “C-Virus” by the regime, and Christians are normally kept from gaining political power. There is a great need for theological education here.

 

Nepal

Out of 29.8 million people, only 2.8% are Christians, according to a 2010 poll. 75% are Hindu, 16% Buddhist, and 4.4% Muslim. Hindu fundamentalism has risen lately. A Maoist terrorist group runs rampant through the streets, and is responsible most recently for murdering 13,000 people, without being brought to justice. Poverty is also an issue; 47%of people in Nepal are underemployed. The youth in this nation are susceptible to drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, and more. When Hindus convert to Christianity in Nepal, they are outcast. Health is also a concern; 80% of diseases in Nepal are due to low basic sanitation and 60% of child deaths are due to malnutrition.