B.C.E. and C.E.? What the heck do those mean? Some of you might be familiar with those terms but for those who are not, I’ll go out and tell you (don’t you hate how some people write as if all the readers already know exactly what they’re talking about? Not the case here). So anyways, B.C.E. = Before Common Era. C.E. = Common Era. They are ways to depict dates that some people are trying to replace B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini or “in the year of our Lord”). The first time I came across this new method of depicting dates was in a fictional novel. I was thinking, What the heck is this dude trying to do? Start a revolution? Well, he wasn’t alone. I’ve seen B.C.E./C.E. used in various other history and science books. In my opinion, it’s a bunch of bull hockey.
So before I go on my rant, let me give you some history behind the B.C./A.D. method first. The dude who came up with B.C./A.D. was a monk who lived from A.D. 470 – A.D. 544. He was from Scythia Minor, which is the modern area known as Dobruja that is located between Bulgaria and Romania near the Black Sea and the lower Danube River. Anyways, this guy had a weird name (probably most people from that area do – no offense though!). He went by the name of Dionysius Exiguus which can be interpreted into English as Dennis the Small, Dennis the Little or Dennis the Short, meaning humble. For simplicity sake, I’ll just call him Denny.
So Denny not only invented B.C./A.D., he also translated many Greek biblical manuscripts into Latin. He contributed to the science of cannon law as well, which greatly influenced Christianity as it spread westward. Denny first came up with the idea of using B.C./A.D. when identifying several Easters in his Easter Table. Previous to B.C./A.D., the Julian calendar was used where it would depict dates by the Consuls who held office that year. Denny invented this new method in the year A.D. 525. No one knows how the heck he came up with that number…he just did. The biggest reason he came up with this new method was because the Diocletian years had been used previously in an old Easter Table. He didn’t want anyone to remember an era of a tyrant who killed Christians. Thus, Anno Domini became popularly used in Western Europe and now during the modern times.
Now B.C.E./C.E. was first used by a Jewish dude by the name of Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall in 1856 in his book “Post Biblical History of the Jews”. Because the Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the Christ, they thought it vulgar to base modern dates using His birth as a point of reference. Although they have their own Hebrew calendar, they have adopted the Gregorian calendar that most people in the world use today. Since then, many other authors, scientists and historians have picked up on the trend, especially lately. Some others who have used this new method are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I tried to look up why they did that and got confused in all their jacked-up jargon (which pretty much makes up their entire religious cult). Still others who are using B.C.E./C.E. are The History Channel, the Smithsonian Institute, the College Board, the Norton Anthology of English Literature and the Kentucky state school board (just to name a few here in the US).
First, I’ll play the devil’s advocate here. If I wasn’t a Christian (Jewish, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, atheist, pagan or someone who worshipped spaghetti), I would feel offended if every year was based on the year Jesus Christ was born (I’d probably name it “the common era of the long skinny pasta”). One of the greatest arguments proponents of B.C.E./C.E. use is that they’re being “sensitive to non-Christians”. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General for the United Nations (not a real prestigious position) stated once that,
“[T]he Christian calendar no longer belongs exclusively to Christians. People of all faiths have taken to using it simply as a matter of convenience. There is so much interaction between people of different faiths and cultures – different civilizations, if you like – that some shared way of reckoning time is a necessity. And so the Christian Era has become the Common Era.”1
Another method advocates of B.C.E./C.E. use to debunk the idea behind Anno Domini is that it is actually inaccurate and that if Christ were born, it was around the year A.D. 1 not A.D. 0. Big flippin deal if you ask me!
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I will exercise my right of being extremely biased. This is an opinionated blog after all and I am in charge here! As I stated at the beginning of this post, B.C.E./C.E. is a bunch of nonsense, baloney and bull-hockey. Although I deeply respect the Jews and their tremendous achievements (maybe another blog post?), the invention of this new way to depict dates was one of their worst contributions to the modern world (if they did in fact come up with B.C.E./C.E.).
Another fact that ticks me off is that modern evolutionists, pagans, spaghetti worshipers, and the like have attempted to erase the Jewish/Christian God from society. They have tried it in many ways: through the ACLU, removing the 10 commandments from courthouses, taking prayer out of schools, attempting to take “In God We Trust” off US currency, and now this! If they don’t believe in the Jewish/Christian God, why are they trying so hard to get rid of Him? Why not just let us do our thing and they do their thing?
The bottom line is that there is no common era. History is devoid of any mention of a common era. What I think is that it was pulled out of thin air (as most pagan and evolution ideas are). As hard as proponents of B.C.E./C.E. attempt to remove the influence of Jesus Christ from the modern world, their point of reference is still based on the birth of Christ! Think about it! All they have done in inventing their “reformed” dating method is just replacing B.C./A.D. with different letters. Both methods still rely on Jesus’ birth. Without that, both systems would be pointless.
If supporters of B.C.E./C.E. are so bent on “protecting” the “sensitivity” of non-Christians or not offending them by discontinuing to use B.C./A.D., maybe they should take a look at the days of the week. Many of the weekday names were derived from Teutonic deities (Roman gods) and Norwegian gods. For example, the name “Sunday” is derived from the Latin words dies solis, which means “sun’s day” (a pagan Roman holiday). Tuesday was named after Tyr, a Norse god. Wednesday honors Wodan or Odin, another Norse god. Saturday was once called “dies Saturni” meaning “Saturn’s day” in honor of another Roman god, Saturn.
As a practicing follower of Jesus, I am not offended that the weekdays are named for pagan gods. Sure, if I were on the deciding panel of who first named the days of the week, I would advocate not to use the names of gods. But what can I do about that now? Nothing! I have grown up knowing the days of the week and I really don’t care now that Roman and Norse gods were used in naming them.
It takes a pretty weak person to concentrate their energy on something so lame as trying to erase Jesus from of the modern world. Why not focus on other deeper and meaningful issues like human trafficking, teenage suicide, inner-city hunger, poverty among single parents, orphans, education for children, or child abuse? Maybe it’s just me but there are other very important issues out there that are more significant than attempting to change the foundation of something that has been used for the past 1,487 years.
1. Annan, Kofi A., (then Secretary-General of the United Nations) (28 June 1999). “Common values for a common era: Even as we cherish our diversity, we need to discover our shared values”. Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress. http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/stories/articleFull.asp?TID=37. Retrieved 2011-05-18.