Thursday, June 28, 2012

IN PRACTICAL TERMS {teaching about false gods}

This comment is from a previous post entitled, LIVING EPISTLES

So Rebecca, just in "practical" terms, how do you approach teaching something like world history? I ask because teaching about the ancient world, for instance, seems nearly impossible without at least mentioning other religions and false gods. Do you simply read about those without delving in, or do you skip the material altogether? And if you avoid the material altogether, do you wrestle with the idea that giving children half of the "tapestry"-- if you will-- might do harm when they go to understand the unreached?

Might home be a training ground for sharpening their minds to truth? Cannot scripture be primary (in fact, central!) while effectively denouncing other ideas, even for a child? It is hard to convey over the computer, but I am asking in the spirit of gentleness, not with any kind of need to discredit this idea. :) I'm wrestling myself... (This is timely, as we just read the Proverb about muddying the righteous waters and discussed what that might mean for a family seeking God!)

P.S. If you ever have the time, I would love a post on how your methods/materials might have changed from your first homeschooled child to your fifth! What does an experienced homeschooling mom choose differently? What do you wish you would have considered early on?

Thank you for your question.  As you said- it is hard at times to convey ideas over the computer so I hope what I am saying comes through in a spirit of gentleness as well.  These thoughts are born over many years of reading the Word and praying about just how much the Lord wants our family to focus on these things. 

Do I wrestle? you asked.  Absolutely.  I will seek to share here just what I wrestle with (the verses that shape my thinking) so you can understand where we are coming from.  We may end up in different places at the end of the discussion and that is ok with me. 

As I said previouly, each family,
with the help of the Holy Spirit,
must measure where their own 
children are and decide how much
information to share and when. 

"Cannot scripture be primary (in fact, central!) while effectively denouncing other ideas, even for a child?"  you asked.   Yes, of course! 

We are simply sharing the direction the Lord is leading us.  I would extend a caution to any family; however, not to presume that someone else knows what is  "need to know" for your family. I do not think we should rush in to teach the ins and outs of false religions for knowledge sake alone (or because everyone else is doing it) and assume it won't ever stumble our little ones.

I have run across MANY resources over the years that encourage us to teach our children all about false gods, while I have run accross very few homeschool moms that are saying they are not. The Lord seems to be leading our family not to teach these things for now and I am willing to share that (possibly unpopular) idea with others. :)


And to follow is why my response didn't fit into the comments section.

Jeremiah 10:1 says:  "Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.  Thus says the Lord:  Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them..."

Through time there have always been men who have worshiped the created rather than the Creator.  Celestial images, idols fashioned by hands "...who cannot speak and "must be carried because they cannot go by themselves."

Certainly God gives us glimpses into these wicked practices that we may be tempted to believe are simply "ancient."  But a keener glance shows us this is part of an on-going spiritual battle.  For example, the Canaanite worship of Baal became the religion of the Druids (those St. Patrick converted in Ireland) which became the religion of Wicca (Witchcraft).  The worship of false gods is actually demon worship- 1 Corinthians 10:20 and is still very real today.




1.  GOD COMMANDED THE COMPLETE DISTRUCTION OF THOSE WORSHIPING FALSE GODS AND SAID THEY WILL STUMBLE HIS PEOPLE:  God commanded through Moses that His people completely destroy those worshiping false Gods saying "they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshipping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God"  Deut. 20:17.

We don't like to think that we or our children would be stumbled in the way God says.  We like to think that studying all things sharpens us somehow and makes us more fit to share the gospel.  Sadly, we see that Solomon's open minded experiences did not have a sharpening effect.  If the wisest man on earth can stumble in these things, then we know that we must be on guard.

2.  GOD DOES NOT WANT IT EVEN NAMED AMONG US:  "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft."  Deuteronomy 18:10 and Exodus 22:18 "Do not allow a sorceress to live."

God tells us not to have those engaged in demon worship and witchcraft even named among us, yet many Christian homes are embracing books and movies that glorify witchcraft.  Many people in our culture look at false religions with respect, interest-- and almost longing. Native American practices, Eastern religions and ancient Druid practices are actually popular here and abroad.  Do our children need to know the specifics of those false religions in order to be a light shining in darkness?  We just haven't come to that conclusion.

3.  GOD DID NOT WANT HIS PEOPLE TO EVEN KEEP THE GOLD AND SILVER FROM FALSE GODS:  "The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 7:25).

Many would argue that what comes from the outside does not defile- are we not told that a stronger brother can even eat meat offered to false gods in the NT- it's just meat.  Yes- this is true about meat.  But when it came to the actual practice of demon worship God called for a serious seperation.



1.  IF GOD TEACHES IT, WE LEARN IT   God shares plenty about wicked men worshiping demons by casting their children into the fire etc.  If He tells us about it, we learn it.  We simply don't suppliment this topic with a lot of additional materials that describe their practices.  I may do some general research and then give an overview. I simply wish to approach this subject with caution for the reasons stated above.

2.  WE GIVE OVERVIEW INFORMATION RATHER THAN DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF IDOL WORSHIP  We read aloud Mystery of History and skip what we don't feel is profitable.  A lesson may go into the Egyptian vulture goddess and we will share with the children that these people worshiped idols and were the rebellious people that were scattered from the Tower of Babel.  We don't go heavily into it but they know who is who and in later years if they engage someone who worships the Egyptian vulture goddess I suppose they can look that up themselves.  ;)

One might bring up the example of Paul knowing about the monuments of the Romans.  It seems clear to me that Paul knew about these monuments because he saw them with his own eyes. Here is a grown man grounded in the Word and using the opportunities around him with the hopes that some might be saved. Amen! We do not get the impression he was taught the ins and outs of false religions as a child.


3.  WE SEEK TO BELIEVE GOD  If He says not to have things named among us or says learning things can stumble rather than sharpen us, we trust that even if it gives us the appearance of being simple minded to others.  By His grace (although imperfectly) we seek to follow what He says about these things trusting that if He says we can be stumbled, then we can.  :)

While we all desire to strive for excellence for the glory of God, we must ask ourselves what true excellence is- by the standard of God's Word alone.  And what makes a man (or woman) thouroughly equipped for every good work?

But as for you, continue in what you have learned
and have become convinced of,
because you know those from whom you learned it,
and how from infancy you have
known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make
you wise for salvation through
faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

I hope this helps you to at least understand our reasoning on these things.

Love and blessings.


  1. This is a really good post! I think sometimes as parents we try to "keep up with the Joneses" in the world of education for our children. I know I have been guilty of reading too much from wordly sources and not reading what the Bible says.
    About a year ago our family purchased a DVD on the Galapagos Islands. It was an excellent documemntary, and I jumped right in explaining to our children the difference between evolution and creation. I waxed eloquent and realized my children had no idea what I was talking about. They have been homeschooled and thankfully not exposed to the topic of evolution. But, in my quest to jump on the bandwagon I was opening the doors and making them curious about something they didn't know. My husband and I came to the same conclusion that you mentioned. Let's teach them what God says and when they are confronted with things that are contrary to God's Word, they will have no problem seeing it for the lie it is.
    I always look forward to your posts! We have 7 children, three of them girls. I really appreciate your feminine touches, if that makes sense. We live in a world where the lines are being blurred between men and women. It is just a blessing to see girls being girls. :)

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Channon- and for being a follower here. Yes, we must be sensitive to the "ifs" and "whens" of sharing things with our kiddos. Thankfully, if we ask for wisdom, the Lord is faithful to give us wisdom.

    You cracked me up with your "waxing eloquent." We have all had those oops moments! Loved hearing yours. :)