“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic elements of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

For many Christian homeschooling families, this verse illustrates the most important reason why they homeschool. They don’t want their children taken captive by the world’s education system.

The philosophy that undergirds most of “public education” today has totally rejected Christ. Instead it is centered on man. The emphasis is on what mankind thinks and feels, on what mankind has done and is doing, and on relationships between people. An excellent way to describe it is the phrase the apostle Paul used in Colossians, “human tradition and the basic elements of this world.”

This philosophy, centered on man, is quickly found to be “hollow.” Man-centered science is full of unexplained phenomena and missing links. Man-centered history is unable to explain the obvious effects of supernatural power in the lives of men. Man-centered arts and literature are depressing and depraved.   Man-centered education is politically correct – concerned about the opinions of men rather than knowledge and truth.

All of these are in contrast to Christ-centered philosophy. Christ-centered science provides an explanation for everything we observe in our world. Christ-centered history is the story of the relationship between God and man. Christ-centered arts and literature fill us with joy and wonder. The Christ-centered philosophy is rich, complete, and of substance, not hollow.

The man-centered philosophy is not only hollow, it is deceptive. It appeals to men’s pride. It places man at the center of the universe. Men become convinced of their own self-importance which leads to justification of their selfish desires.  As men become more self-centered and selfish, they become more irrational and childish.  They insist that they get their own way in all things and through tantrums when they don’t.

Paul warns us not to become captives to this philosophy.  A captive is one who is prevented from making their own choices.  Rather, someone else’s choice for them is forced upon them.  It might be choices concerning where to go, what to do, or when to do it.  The point is that a captive’s choices are constrained.  The selfish and irrational behaviors that spring from a man-centered philosophy force a society to respond with more control over those in the society.  Hence we have more laws, more prisons, more policemen, and more “government enforcers” to protect us from the selfish and irrational behavior of those around us.  Our choices are curtailed because of man-centered philosophy.

Freedom is the right and ability to make wise choices.  A Christ-centered education equips a child to exercise freedom because their knowledge is grounded in truth and facts, not selfishness.  A society grounded on a Christ-centered philosophy is able to grant rights and freedoms to members of the society because people will be using wisdom and knowledge to make choices.  

Homeschooling parents have recognized this and want our society to be grounded in truth, knowledge and wisdom.  Homeschooling parents choose the philosophy their children will learn by the subjects they choose, the materials they use, the teaching they provide, and the example they set. Fathers in particular, as leaders in their household, should be setting the direction for the education of their children.

Many of us as parents who are homeschooling today were “taken captive” as children by man-centered education and didn’t discover Christ-centered education until we were adults. Thankfully we have the opportunity to spare our children from this destructive experience. As Christian homeschoolers, we can apply the apostles Paul’s warning to how we raise our children and ensure that they are receiving a Christ-centered education so that they aren’t “taken captive.”

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Mike Scruggs