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Astounding narcissism

December 10, 2010

Boring Friday here, so I have been reading the local paper of my former hometown. As expected, I could send them another letter…but having done so recently, I may as well give them a break till next year.

It was an amusing letter that caught my eye, though.

For almost 2,000 years, most of the world had kept and separated time by events that happened before and after the birth of Jesus Christ.

B.C. means “before Christ,” while A.D. stands for “anno domini,” which is Latin for “in the year of the Lord,” and the time since his birth.

Now, those who are fighting against Christianity and God in general are trying to keep Jesus off the calendar by changing to B.C.E. and A.C.E. (before and after the common era).

This concept is ridiculous.

For example, Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C. If you said he was born in 356 B.C.E., it would still mean that he was born 356 years before Christ.

This is nothing but another attempt by a very small minority of people who want to shove Jesus and God out of society.

The letter ends with a bit of extra snark that doesn’t add to the argument (as if it adds up to much), so I’ll skip the ending and get on with the show.

For almost 2,000 years, most of the world had kept and separated time by events that happened before and after the birth of Jesus Christ.

If this is meant as anything more than exposition — and probably false exposition at that, how much of the world never heard of BC/AD? — it represents an appeal to tradition, a useless piece of fallacious rhetoric. Fortunately, the BCE/CE premise is not based on an appeal to novelty.

More amusing in this picking of a fight is that the supposed birth of Jesus, if he ever existed at all, can show a mistake in the BC/AD system. Further, the idea that it wasn’t even devised until 500 years after the Jesus story came and went, was devised for political reasons, didn’t catch on for another couple of centuries, and began in western Europe while the rest of the world went on with its own calendars…

Well. Clearly, the writer, with his notion of 2000 years of calendar tradition, is quite mistaken and could use a history lesson.

Moving on — to why the BCE/CE system was proposed and put into service. Of course, the letter writer does not pick up on the accurate reason, but instead makes up his own, war on xmas style. ‘Tis the season for the war on baby Jesus, as per Bill O’Reilly, I suppose. I would not be surprised if the letter was inspired by the Factor.

Now, those who are fighting against Christianity and God in general are trying to keep Jesus off the calendar by changing to B.C.E. and A.C.E. (before and after the common era).

And then there is reality — what do the people actually using it now use it for? Why do they do it? Do they hate xianity? God in general?I go back to Wikipedia for the answer.

Common Era notation has been adopted in several non-Christian cultures and by many scholars in religious studies and other academic fields[10][11] wishing to be sensitive to non-Christians,[12] because Common Era does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus, such as Christ and Lord, which are used in the BC/AD notation.[10][13][14][15][16]

The writer, of course, has no idea what it would be like to live in a ‘non-Christian culture’. Lucky him. Or any notions of sensibility, beyond the attack on his own delicate sensibilities, that is. I wonder if he understands that Jews have been using CE instead of AD for about a century…or that Jesus is a footnote in their history? Would he care that the rest of the world uses our calendar year because it’s convenient? No, it’s all about our society…the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Parochialism at its finest.

This is nothing but another attempt by a very small minority of people who want to shove Jesus and God out of society.

Not so small these days, pal — 16% unaffiliated and climbing! Not that all of even most of these would give a damn whether we put ‘AD’ or ‘CE’ after the year, when we do, which isn’t often. Most Americans are probably challenged enough counting the Roman numerals for the Super Bowl.

But sure, let’s indulge the believer’s persecution complex for a moment and assume this is all some evil plot to excise his religion’s pernicious influence from our society. Just pretend. How likely is it that we’ll call off Christmas? I like distributing gifts for the holidays, and I’m an atheist. Raw, unbridled commercialism has taken over your precious holiday. Shove Jesus and God out of society? What, when they can be abused as marketing ploys, advertising schemes? Perish the thought!

(skip to the minute mark for the relevant punchline.)

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