Philosophers are people who are educated in the discipline of philosophy. Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. Philosophers often see themselves as being very wise. The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek word philosophia – love of wisdom. Philosophers may “love wisdom,” but they seldom have any (wisdom).
One of the problems with philosophers is they want everyone to know how wise they are – so they teach, hold seminars and write books. Their subjects include political philosophy, moral philosophy, religious philosophy, metaphysical philosophy, and epistemology. They will gladly share their ideas about logic and aesthetics, along with the philosophy of language and the mind. Attend one of their seminars and you’ll hear them go on about dualism, materialism, cosmology, ontology, truth, justice, and faith.
These are the people who are guiding the minds of boys and girls and young men and women in our school systems around the world. Western philosophers follow the general philosophical systems first established by ancient Greece and cities in Asia Minor, while Eastern philosophers follow the general philosophical systems first established by ancient Babylon, Persia, China and India. None of those systems are based on Christian beliefs, yet millions of children from Christian homes are being taught these philosophies – every day. Many philosophers are atheists and agnostics – others come from a variety of spiritual perspectives. The question for Christian parents is – which spiritual perspective? Do you know what your children’s teachers believe? Do you know what they teach and why?
God warns His people about the dangers of philosophy. The Apostle Paul was a missionary to the Gentile world, so he was constantly facing arguments from the philosophies of both East and West. Here’s what Paul suggested we do about philosophy – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Paul used the Greek word blepo (beware) as a warning to Christians to use great discernment in this matter. Why? Because philosophy can spoil people. The word “spoil” is sulagogeo and means “to carry off as spoil, lead captive.” That’s what the philosophy of the world does to people – it takes them mentally, morally, emotionally, and spiritually captive. What happens when people are taken captive? They usually don’t come back. That’s what’s happening in the Church. Here are some hard facts (from several recent research projects):
- 70-75% of Christian young people leave the Church after high school
- One of the major reasons is intellectual skepticism (philosophy and vain deceit)
- Most Christian young people are not equipped to deal with the anti-Christian message from professors, fellow students and friends
- College professors are five times more likely to identify themselves as atheists than other members of the general public
- More than half of all college professors view students with Christian backgrounds unfavorably
Look closely at the children and teenagers in your church. If you don’t equip them now to deal with these faith bullies, you won’t see most of them after they graduate from high school. Statistically, about 30% of the ones who leave will return to church sometime after the age of 30, but that means they will lose ten or more years of productive Christian living – and 70% of those who leave will never return.
I don’t like those statistics at all. Something must be done. Church leaders and parents need to realize the importance of equipping their young people to deal effectively with a world that hates Jesus Christ and those who follow Him. People who hate Christ will bully His followers until they are either taken captive, made to cower, forced to deny Christ, or are dead. Remember what Jesus said about the enemy of His people – “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10)
Paul also warned about “vain deceit.” The Greek is kenes apaites and means “deceit that is void of anything profitable.” The word apaites means “to cheat, deceive, beguile.” The philosophies of the world cheat, deceive and beguile people of all ages – and are void of anything profitable. Paul warned the Colossians against following the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. The traditions of men are paradosin ton anthropon – those teachings and instructions handed down from generation to generation. The rudiments of the world are stoicheia tou kosmon – the first, elementary principles of the world’s belief systems. The philosophies that our children are learning in schools and universities today are the same elementary principles first handed down by Satan thousands of years ago – handed down from generation to generation. Those philosophies are empty, vain, deluded, and dangerous – and they are not “after Christ.” They are not the Thoughts of God.
Parents – warn your children about philosophers. Philosophers want only one thing – to take the minds and hearts of our children captive to their foolishness. How do we stop it? By helping our children, teenagers and young adults learn how to think biblically and see everything in life from God’s perspective. Take time with your children when they ask you philosophical questions. They are hearing it from friends, parents of friends, teachers or other adults. Make sure they know what you believe and why. Let them know you are interested in their thoughts and beliefs. Don’t dismiss their questions as childish, foolish or immature. Treat their ideas as important and they will treat your answers in the same way.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”