AD/BC vs. CE/BCE

Well, I fig­ure I prob­a­bly stepped on just about every­one’s toes already, I can’t pos­si­bly go wrong with speak­ing my mind on this topic.

Stonehenge

For those who haven’t yet noticed this phe­nom­e­non, the means for denot­ing which “era” is being spo­ken of is chang­ing. The sys­tem most of us are famil­iar with is this: BC and AD.

BC (before Christ), obvi­ous­ly, is used to denote dates pri­or to the sup­posed year of the birth of Christ. Like­wise, AD (Anno Domi­ni) denotes years since Christ’s birth.

Such a sys­tem has been in place for about 1,400 years or so.

How­ev­er, for a few hun­dred years now (believe it or not, this began with Chris­tians, not unbe­liev­ers!), efforts have been tak­en to replace BC and AD with BCE and CE.

The eras denot­ed by both sets of descrip­tors are the same.

How­ev­er, as is typ­i­cal with Chris­tians, change is feared. Yes, some­thing as absolute­ly triv­ial as era descrip­tors is set up as some­thing sacred. Any attempt to “remove Christ from the dates” is seen as an attack on Chris­tian­i­ty (again, such a removal was begun cen­turies ago by Chris­tians). As an exam­ple, vis­it What is this C.E./B.C.E. Busi­ness?.

I could­n’t dis­agree more with such non­sense. My rea­sons follow.

  • Chris­tians are not the guardians of nomenclature.
  • His name should be removed from dat­ing schemas to avoid tak­ing His name in vain. Fur­ther, using His names & titles in nam­ing peri­ods of time reduces Him to the lev­el of any num­ber of pagan deities — Thor, for exam­ple, who we named Thurs­day after — and Cae­sars, such as Augus­tus, who we can thank for the name August.
  • “Before Christ” implies that there was a time before Christ. If He is eter­nal, there can be no “before.” He’s either the Alpha and the Omega, the Begin­ning and the End­ing… or He’s not. Per­haps “before the incar­na­tion of God in the body of a man” would work bet­ter. We could start dat­ing ancient events thus­ly: “It took place in 1943 BIGBM”!
  • Like­wise, “in the year of our Lord” implies that He was not the Lord pri­or to this era. Again, this is a denial of His eter­nal Godhood.
  • It’s fair­ly well estab­lished that Jesus was born between 8 and 3 BCE, sev­er­al years ear­li­er than the BC and AD sys­tem would have us to believe. In oth­er words, it pro­motes a lie, and as Chris­tians we ought to do our part in no longer pro­mot­ing that mis­con­cep­tion. Either we adjust all dates neg­a­tive­ly by a few years — mak­ing this 1999–2004 CE — or we ditch the old nomen­cla­ture and use a more accu­rate nam­ing scheme.
  • One of the best parts about hav­ing a wide­ly accept­ed dat­ing sys­tem is that it makes the dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion — includ­ing things like appoint­ments — far eas­i­er. A great many peo­ple may not want to use such an obvi­ous­ly chris­to­cen­tric nam­ing scheme, which is fine. There’s no rea­son we should be using one anyway!
  • Mak­ing some­thing an issue of dog­ma­tism when the Scrip­tures teach no such thing bor­ders on adding to the Word, which is a griev­ous offense against God.
  • We’re com­mis­sioned to preach the Gospel, not to quib­ble over semantics.

And so on. If we real­ly want to be super saints, then why not denote every year as being AManno mun­di (in the year of the world) — as the Jews do. After all, accord­ing to the link giv­en above, good Chris­tians love the Jews. (Aren’t we sup­posed to love everyone?)

That would put us in the year 6010 AM accord­ing to James Ussh­er’s chronol­o­gy, though there is (unsur­pris­ing­ly) some vari­ety in which year is con­sid­ered the year of Cre­ation.

So go ahead and use BCE and CE with con­fi­dence that in doing so, you’re not hurt­ing your faith or Chris­tian­i­ty. Rather, you’re sub­tly step­ping out of the way of progress and standardization.

And by not press­ing the issue, you’re afford­ing your­self more time to spend with your fam­i­ly, to do good to oth­ers, and to preach the Gospel. You rock!

7 thoughts on “AD/BC vs. CE/BCE”

  1. arghh — I have found some­thing that I agree with Rick on. OK not for the same rea­sons but the end results are the same. There is no point for any­one to get hung up on the names giv­en to dat­ing sys­tems. It is more impor­tant that we all (human­i­ty) agree on a sin­gle dat­ing sys­tem than to get stuck on the terms applied to such a system.

  2. VIVEK RANJAN SINHA — I have found some­thing that I agree with Rick on. OK not for the same rea­sons but the end results are the same. There is no point for any­one to get hung up on the names giv­en to dat­ing sys­tems. It is more impor­tant that we all (human­i­ty) agree on a sin­gle dat­ing sys­tem than to get stuck on the terms applied to such a system.

  3. What fun — your thoughts on the BC/AD thing. You made a bunch of good points while also mak­ing me laugh :)
    Its you that rocks!!

    You go — Kin­dom Geek Dude

  4. this guys an idiot. Christ exist­ed, as did Bud­dah, Moham­mad, David Koresch (not sure about the spelling), Sun Yung Moon, Jim Bak­er, Joseph Smith, etc. Nobody that I know of ever said Jesus was “eter­nal”, it has been preached that life is eter­nal. Jesus did have a birth­day, and there­fore there was time befor his birth. What a dou­ble edged sword the inter­net is, the shame of it is that the lion’s share of the sword is dull.

  5. Nobody said that Jesus was “eter­nal”… except for pret­ty much the major­i­ty of the New Tes­ta­ment authors (and by exten­sion, God Him­self), the vast major­i­ty of rep­utable Chris­t­ian teach­ers through­out the ages, and most impor­tant­ly, Jesus Him­self, who declared that before Abra­ham was, “I am” (a direct cor­re­la­tion to Jeho­vah’s dec­la­ra­tion to Moses, “I AM that I AM”).

    Before crit­i­ciz­ing the Inter­net, per­haps you could use it to do a lit­tle research before trolling and call­ing peo­ple idiots? Answers real­ly aren’t all that hard to find. ;)

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Rick Beckman