why christians should abandon bc/ad and adopt the bce/ce dating system

Calendar_ad_cebible and interpretation has published my new essay entitled, ‘why christians should adopt the bce/ce dating system.’ it’s a peeve of mine and a battle i have been fighting on wikipedia for some time now. scientific and archaeological articles shoud employ the bce/ce system to label dates, and should not continue to utilize the archaic and problematic bc/ad system. then again, we should all be using the metric system and driving fuel efficient cars as well, so we’ll see how well the article is received.

in the essay, i argue:

Thus, it is time for Christians to let go of the inaccurate, and to many, offensive BC and AD calendar labels and adopt the BCE/CE system. If using BC and AD to designate calendrical dates is the central identifier of a person as a Christian, then that person has bigger problems than an insistence upon a calendar. Likewise, adopting the BCE/CE system allays the discrepancies of the chronologies of Jesus’ life, while the archaic BC/AD system only highlights them. The BCE/CE system is the de facto dating system for the scientific community, joining the metric system as a standard that peoples of all nations and faiths can accept. This dating system is also the most widely used system outside of the scientific community. The BCE/CE system requires no conversions and no re-dating of historical events; only the renaming of BC to BCE and AD to CE is needed. And, as has been demonstrated above, because the AD/BC system is not actually based upon the birth of Jesus, but is rather off by approximately 7 years, there is no concern from non-Christian peoples to be suspicious of being surreptitiously forced into adopting a dating system based upon the life of Christ.

give it a read.

it is time for Christians to let go of the inaccurate, and to many, offensive BC and AD calendar labels and adopt the BCE/CE system. If using BC and AD to designate calendrical dates is the central identifier of a person as a Christian, then that person has bigger problems than an insistence upon a calendar. Likewise, adopting the BCE/CE system allays the discrepancies of the chronologies of Jesus’ life, while the archaic BC/AD system only highlights them. The BCE/BE system is the de facto dating system for the scientific community, joining the metric system as a standard that peoples of all nations and faiths can accept. This dating system is also the most widely used system outside of the scientific community. The BCE/CE system requires no conversions and no re-dating of historical events; only the renaming of BC to BCE and AD to CE is needed. And, as has been demonstrated above, because the AD/BC system is not actually based upon the birth of Jesus, but is rather off by approximately 7 years, there is no concern from non-Christian peoples to be suspicious of being surreptitiously forced into adopting a dating system based upon the life of Christ.
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19 Responses

  1. Bob, I’m a little confused. Do you mean Christians should do this individually? Or through their denominational bodies?

    While I agree, I think you’ll have a hard time convincing the Papacy to abandon “Anno Domini.”

  2. yes, individually. as should journals and journalists. in the mean time, let the church deal with the fact that jesus is born 7 BCE in Matthew and 6 CE in Luke. but you’re right: the catholic church will probably be the last to abandon the ‘year of our lord’ label, just like they appear to be the last ones to abandon prohibitions on birth control.

    one thing i thought about while writing this article: maybe ol’ dionysius actually saw the birthday discrepancy and simply averaged the two dates together!!

  3. I agree with you Bob. I think the main obstacle this campaign has is the pushing back from conservative Christians who feel the designation is some kind of atheist or anti-Christian crusade. In actuality, the designation was developed by 17th-18th century European Christians to distinguish the “vulgar” (“common”) calendar from the regnal calendar. There’s nothing offensive about wanting to be less polarizing and disrespectful in a global community, and most people don’t use AD correctly anyway.

  4. Although I often find myself in two minds about this, it would seem to me that Christians ought to be the ones most avidly supporting the change to BCE/CE. The alternative is to say that, based on Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus was born about 6 years before Christ! ;-)

  5. Yes, this theological problem runs deep. That history revolves and rotates around the birth of Christ is a classic entrenchment of AD/BC advocates. I think this is symptomatic of the whole “Christ against culture” (Niebuhr) construct, which is often assumed –consciously or not– by Christian fundamentalists. In this case, fundamentalists should pick their battles.

    On fundementalism in general:
    Why not define the fundamentals to the behaviors and actions of Christ? It’s hard to get more fundamental than acting. Besides, the power of the historical resurrection can take care of itself and really doesn’t need our help. Christ doesn’t need the peanut gallery chanting

  6. Im all in favour of dumping BC/AD to the darkest pit of Sheol.On the other hand, the Catholic Church or other Christian group can call the years whatever they want in their own discourses. Im not about to tell Jews that they can’t refer to dates according to the Jewish calendar. In cross community dialogue, like the public media and scholarship, however, a non-sectarian standard should be used.

    I also can’t stand the upper case divine pronouns, but that’s another rant…

  7. agreed. and jim, by ‘upper case divine pronouns,’ do you mean when referring to god, one says:

    We should praise Him for all He has done?

    i think you can deduce my stance on that by noting that i don’t capitalize a thing. ;-)

  8. Hit it right on the big ol’ H!
    And as far as not capitalizing anything, I did notice that. It’s a lot better than the all caps creationist who comments at the Thinking Shop sometimes.

  9. I’ve got to weigh in against the BCE/CE as long as “CE” is the abbreviation for “Common Era”. “Common” to what? It sounds too much like you’re bending over backwards to Not Offend Anybody. And to make sure We Don’t Offend Anybody, Let’s Remove Any Reference To Those Christians; They Don’t Count.

    Now if you’re going to use those initials (BCE/CE), it makes more sense to have “CE” stand for “Christian Era”. In this case, you’re giving the date (year number) and calendar (Gregorian Christian) you’re using to measure that year.

  10. Rob, the bce ce dating system is terrible. All it’s doing is distorting history. We all know this dating system is based on the supposed birth of Christ. All it’s doing is PC washing our calender. The Islamic and Chinese dating systems are co used with ours in their respective countries because convenience. When it is no longer favorable they will dump ours in a heart beat. They are not going to forget it a christian calender. Our kids will. BC AD flows when read silently or out loud. B.C.E. and C.E. is nonrhythmic and is a waste of ink. Please we need to understand why the year 0 the year 0. And I am not a christian but when truth and history is going to censored to sound more in line with some ideology we must all stand up. So rob thanks for helping destroy western civilization.

  11. Is there a reason you deleted my post? good job, way to go! you’re awesome. coool guy

  12. Hello,

    Is this Bob guy a pagan?

    Hershal Shanks wants the bce ce thing too. This is because Archeology Review is a pagan magazine.

    Liberals don’t believe Isaiah wrote Isaiah, Jeremiah didn’t write Jeremiah etc.

    They have a pagan view as to the authors of the Bible. Moses didn’t write the Torah. Moses may have not existed.

    So, what’s going on? Is Bob a liberal? Is he a communist? Just curious due to the redness on the face page.

    These are very old, 18th century arguments which have been refuted long ago.

    Also, is Bob a neo orthodox man, or just within the school of Bultmann?

    I’m new on here so I guess I’ll read more.

    Respectfully,

    Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).
    institutio@gmail.com

  13. Hello,

    I just realized how liberal he is. SBL member (Society of Biblical Literature). This is a very liberal organization.

    Also, is he part of the National Council of Churches. Might as well be.

    I like to talk to pagans so I’ll be here a little longer.

    Respectfully,

    Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

  14. lol. most entertaining comment i’ve had in some time. thanx. -bc

  15. the sbl is liberal? :)

  16. Hi Bob,

    Yes, the SBL is liberal.

    Respectfully,

    Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

  17. Like a lot of secular-minded people I don’t give a toot about retaining BC/AD for religious reasons. However, I think that BC/BCE are confusing since they are so similar (same letters in the same order with only one difference). The last thing kids in the classroom need is more confusion. That makes BC/AD the lesser of two evils, so to speak.

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