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

In addition to having right beliefs, what we don’t believe is also important. In a broad sense, the philosophy of our age is Secularism, starting from the basic assumption that there is no God and that everything can and must be explained through natural means with no reference to eternity or the supernatural.  For the Secularist there are no ultimate answers because there is no ultimate realm.  More specifically the Secularism of our age is a mixture of Existentialism, Humanism, Pragmatism, Positivism, Pluralism and Hedonism (see R.C. Sproul’s series on Worldviews).

The philosophies of this world might be very popular, but:

1. They are hollow, empty, lacking substance.  The word in the Greek is used of things that lack effectiveness, are without result, are empty and futile (Rom 1:21).  They look good on the outside, but inside they are empty of substance and don’t go anywhere.  If we leave God out of our worldview, we start with a wrong foundation and any building constructed on a wrong foundation will fall (Mat 7:24-27).

2. They lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence (Col 2:23).  As human beings we are led astray by our own sinful nature.  Unless there is an answer for the sinful nature within us, we cannot and will not be able to live the kind of life we know that we are meant to live.  It is sin, not intention, which keeps us from living a life of fullness.

3. They don’t tie in with everyday life.  The philosophies of this world aren’t practical.  God’s Word works to bring us fullness both theologically (orthodoxy) and in practical living (orthopraxis).  The book of Proverbs, for example, teaches us how to live wisely in this world.

4. They are not internally consistent.  The philosophies of this world are logical dead ends.  Faith and reason go together.  Because the Bible comes from God who is absolute Truth, God’s Word, (correctly interpreted), is totally logical, reasonable, and internally consistent. At some point the philosophies of this world are illogical, philosophical dead-ends.

5. They don’t satisfy the needs of the human heart.  The philosophies of this world might appeal to our minds, they might be esoteric and exciting, but they don’t tie together our whole being.  Whatever we believe, it has to be consistent not only for our heads, but also for our hearts.  Christ came to bring healing and health to our hearts as well as our minds (Rom 12:2).

6. They are actually deceptive, leading us away from Truth.  The word in the Greek for ‘takes you captive’ means that we are carried off (as) booty or taken captive by empty and deceptive philosophy.  The philosophy of this world is seductive and misleading.  Philosophy is deceptive when it takes you somewhere other than where it says it will take you.  It promises fulfillment, but ends up only in more emptiness.  It promises satisfaction, but only ends up creating a hunger for something more satisfying. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  The philosophies of this world are dead ends, deceptive, and lead to spiritual death.


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