Beyond Christianity Global

Navajos and Christianity – Dismissive of “Part-Time Religion”

Navajos and Christianity? “The Navajos for the most part have long resisted Christianity.”

Navajos and Christianity


These are the thoughts of Raymond Friday Locke, from his The Book of the Navajo, Mankind Pub Co, 2001 edition, p5. His take on Navajo culture and perspectives is widely respected.


Navajos and Christianity: a part-time religion

The Navajos for the most part have long resisted Christianity. They look upon it as a “part-time” religion where a man’s god is available to him for only a few hours on Sunday and then has to be sought out in a special house where his spirit dwells.

Now where would they ever get that idea as to what Christianity is?

Navajos and Christianity: disrespect for the land, and a circumscribed worship location

Navajos and Christianity part-time religionFrom the beginning, the Navajos were repulsed by the European’s disrespect for and misuse of the land … A society that would destroy the source of life and worship an abstract god in a place set aside for that purpose has, historically, had little to offer the Navajo.

Surely they don’t think of us as such a society?

(See also this post: “Navajo: Eternity is In It.”)

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  • I try to understand all cultures. I also know that there is a void inside everybody that can only be filled by Jesus the Christ, but people don’t want religion crammed down their throats. You can worship anywhere. It don’t have to be in a church. In fact in some churches there are more sheep devoured by sheep than by wolves.

  • Navajos (Dine’) resist Christianity for many reasons. These reasons are waves of malicious catastrophes such as The Long walk tragedies at Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, the maltreatment of boarding school influential, and the experimental Relocation Projects of many Dine’ families. All of these events pertain to Christianity foundations so we were told.
    Over time everything associated with Christianity becomes sort of like going into Wal-Mart. It is all the same product with different names (Mormons, Baptists, Dunkard Brethrens, Catholics, Private Education, and Placement Programs). It seems like it is an economic class that never ends.
    We are told that our ways are wrong and evil, but in our hearts we know that we are not intentionally being evil. We want what is best for your lives and our families. When Christianity is forced into someone’s life, it is like trying to develop a desire a taste for a dirt sandwich.

    (Presently overwhelmed with love and assure tranquility by the light of grace)

    I know and believe that I am a Christian. My thoughts, my soul, my words, my perspective, my every being—my ultimate authentic self is devoted to my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. It took me a very long time to feel this way. It took a real friend and her husband to help me understand this great treasure called, “the love of God.�
    I realize that I develop a complete trust in my friends who treated my as an individual and not a brown Indian woman. I watched how they treat each other and hear the words they speak, I listen and tested them to see if they really heard what I said, may it be random subjects…and they demonstrate to me that they are genuine friends. They are the first couple that I came to know that are so intelligent in many ways, but yet they are so Christ like that I am not intimidated by their education or their way of thinking.
    I could talk to them about anything. Even when I was alone with one of them, they surrounded me with such a feeling of respect that there is absolutely no room for doubt. I welcome them into my home, my comfort-zone, and my inner-concepts. They know me.

    My friends helped me to see myself the way the Lord sees me. They help me understand the reasons why most Christians see us as evil people.
    My friends did just the opposite of what I have always seen other Christians do. Instead of instantly labeling us as Indians or devils, they took what we believe and tried to understand why, what, where, when and how. As they are going through the process of learning about the Dine’, they invited my family into their home and made us apart of them.
    Oh—what a blessing it is to hear my children address them as Uncle and Aunt Harvey. They are always looking forward to seeing them ASAP.

    This type of Christianity is not really in existence among the Dine’ today. Most of the Dine’, believes, “Christians� are those uppity people that love to put labels on people and in their hands they hold this strange “Christian-image-shaper� (the cookie cutter). They shout out loud in square churches, “You have to be like us or you will die and go to HELL!!!!�
    Okay, lets flip the script, lets say I forced upon you the Dine’ culture and the beliefs of within the dominions of England. How would you feel?
    If I demanded upon you, “Do not talk your language!� “Read only our language!� “Sit, Walk, Sound, Act, Live, Look, and Think like us!� Would you really do what I demanded? Or would you just think, okay so they have the upper hand for now, well we will go along with the flow.
    It is a profound understanding to truly say and believe the it is not about God being for you, but it is about we individuals need to be for God; That it is not about being a church member (Cookie-cutting-image) but about belong to God in the name of Jesus our savior; that it is about being with God everyday and talking to Jesus when ever, where ever. It is about welcoming God in every room of our life.
    With that said, I loooove knowing that my God is in my temple—“Dine’-ME� Praise God in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • Yes, how can you believe in “intelligent design” and at the same time participate in the destruction of a waterway that provides free fish for the poor man, low-cost fish and low-cost recreation for the middle class, and a gourmet-food-eating experience for the rich? Something so beneficial for everybody, provided by nature, not created by man, and it doesn’t even register as important, or even worthwhile, on the radar of the people who run things! Sometimes our ruling class makes me wonder about the value of a college education. The Navajos definitely have a point.