The late Henry Ford once said that history was “bunk.” Lots of modern Christians seem to agree with Ford without realizing it. Why do I say this? Because so many pay little or no attention to the stuff of history, demonstrating that they know little about what is actually happening, and why it matters, in our own time. There is an old epigram that adds, “Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.” There are consequences to our ignorance, willful or otherwise.

I meet a lot of people who are blest with an incredible certainty about almost everything in the world but who have little basis for that certainty. Hans Urs von Balthazar, the magnificent Catholic theologian, understood correctly that “true history is [really] made up of the distillation of countless biographies.” Get to know people and you will become really interested in history. Ignore people, focus on your own views as the truth, and you will be doomed to make huge mistakes in life. King Louis XI understood this and thus said, “When conceit marches in front, shame and damage walk behind.” How true this is of those who ignore history like Henry Ford. Too many of his heirs are setting the agenda in both the church and the culture.

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