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Christianity in South and Central Asia$
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Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, and Todd M. Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439824

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439824.001.0001

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(p.184) Bangladesh
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Pradeep Perez sj

Edinburgh University Press

Bangladesh is majority Muslim at 91%, mostly Sunni, with Islam as the state religion since 1988. The Hindus at 8.1% are the largest religious minority. Buddhists make up another 0.7%. Christians of diverse denominations constitute less than 1%. There are two archdioceses and seven dioceses in Bangladesh. While William Carey, who translated and printed the Bible in Bengali, came to Serampore in 1793, Protestant missionary efforts took root during the first half of the nineteenth century. The Christian contribution to Bangladesh’s freedom fight during the Liberation War in 1971 involved about 1,500 Christians with 4,000 more assisting the combatants. However, the slow growth of Christianity in the country is due to resistance to the gospel by Muslims and Hindus who identify Christianity with Western ideologies. Secondly, early missionaries focused their work on education at the expense of evangelism. A third reason is the devastating climate, which has disheartened many missionaries from new efforts at evangelization. Still, the distribution of Christian literature continues to play an important role in evangelistic efforts. Christian relief and development works have evangelized many. The contributions of missionaries and indigenous Christians have proved to be highly significant in different sectors of national life.

Keywords:   Bangladesh, Evangelism, Islam, Hinduism, Interfaith

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