I don't live the way I used to live.

Posted by Josiah Hemp on 6/12/24 10:06 AM

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The first time Christian Castro (CLA, '24) grasped the point and purpose of life was freshman year, taking Western Civilization with Dr. Favelo. “Dr. Favelo," Castro said, "I just want to get a degree in western civilization. This is just the most beautiful thing.”

“Well, that’s the whole point of the school,” Favelo said. “To get a degree in western civilization.”

Four years later, Castro graduated as a Classical Liberal Arts major—what he calls “A four-year degree in western civilization.”

The Imago Dei project

Classical Liberal Arts majors take required courses in history, literature, philosophy, theology, classical mythology, and a classical language. The major provides a wide range of opportunities to take classes in interconnected disciplines, all rooted in the western tradition and anchored in the truth of Scripture.

“It has enlarged the circumference of my consciousness vastly,” Castro said. “I don’t live the way I used to live. There is a light falling everywhere. The poems constantly populate my consciousness. I sit back and reason with Aristotle and discuss with Plato.Why we teach: "A Worldview Sniper for Christ"

Castro said the intellectual and spiritual formation at PHC is unique.

“No other school in America that I’m aware cross pollenates so much to give you a philosophic wisdom. Philosophic wisdom is something that integrates various modes of study into one larger vision of the whole. Theology, history, literature, science, the history of science, poetry, mathematics; it’s all one vision of the truth.”

PHC’s 63 credit core curriculum not only teaches knowledge, but also fosters wisdom and strengthens faith.

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For an education to be truly valuable, it must be grounded in the truth. Even a rigorous classical education, if secular, is incomplete, Castro said, “because it’s not rooted—it's not rooted in the character of Christ.”

Classical education without Christ is “unmoored—it is unanchored—it is all just head knowledge,” Castro said.

PHC, with its dedication to an unwavering biblical worldview, is different. Castro said, “Patrick Henry College is the best place in the United States of America if you want to get a classical Christian education.”

Read Christian's essay in Aletheia

The Classical Liberal Arts shape not only the mind, but also the heart. Castro said the purpose of the CLA major is primarily to teach you to “love what you are supposed to love. People don’t love anything anymore. It’s terrible. We can’t appreciate what’s good. I think the purpose of a degree in western civilization is to train your loves.”

The classical liberal arts also bring a humility and a comfort by grounding one in a longstanding tradition. “When I was a high schooler, I used to think that in order to be smart you have to know everything. … It’s not true. You don’t have to have an answer,” Castro said. “Sometimes you just go back to Augustine, go back to Plato ... It’s working inside of a tradition, instead of working by yourself. It gives you freedom.”

Castro will be an Instructor of Humane Letters in Antiquity at a school this coming year, and then plans to pursue a Ph.D. He hopes to use his training in the classical liberal arts to pursue “an academic career that breathes in the life of the church. … and is devoted to serving the life of the church.”

Classical Education


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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