Purging Christ

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tommclaughlin
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Purging Christ

I think it was in the 1980s sometime that I first encountered the designation “BCE.” The period I was studying was 3000 years ago and it was designated 1000 BCE. Clearly the new acronym was related to the familiar “BC” meaning “Before Christ,” but I wondered about when and why it had changed. Most people are now familiar with “Before Common Era” but it was brand new to most of us back then. I suspected it was part of an increasing purge of Christianity from the public square.

Also substituted was the designation “CE” (Common Era) for “AD” which my students always guessed meant “After Death” of Jesus Christ, but it’s actually an acronym for the Latin “Anno Domini” meaning “Year of our Lord.” Academics denied anti-Christian bias had anything to do with the new dating nomenclature. They cited its use in the century-old Anarchist journal Lucifer The Light Bearer. They didn’t really think that would pacify Christians, did they? Jewish scholars used it too, they pointed out.

The textbook I used for the last decade of my teaching career used them and I suspect nearly all do now. Astute students would ask how the acronyms originated and I’d explain that there was a time when western culture held the most important event in all of history to be the life of Jesus Christ, so historians measured all of time by what happened before Christ and what happened after Him.

But that’s changing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to use past tense and say “that changed.” Is the change complete? Do we live in a post-Christian America? Is that particular battle in the wider culture war over now? Maybe we’re in a mopping-up operation now as they say in military parlance. When the mopping up is finished, perhaps we’ll go back to using “AD” in the way my students understood it: “After Death of Christ.”

We Christians believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, part of a triune deity and therefore God Himself. Philosopher Frederich Neitzche first declared “God is Dead” not in 1891’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” but in his 1882 collection: The Gay Science. That was back when “gay” still meant “happy.” In it, Neitzche wrote:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

Read more here.

Toolsmith
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I have always objected to

I have always objected to this on the basis of plagiarism. Dionysius Exiguus invented this year numbering system, and named it: AD: Anno Domini. It was a brilliant innovation, too, since it eliminated dating things by each ruler in sequence (or in Rome, each pair of Consuls). Much simpler computation of any date - you didn't have to remember how long each ruler ruled, and add them all up, between any two events. A fixed reference point is so much simpler!

What right does anyone else have to appropriate this system without credit, and pervert its meaning?
And it seems to have been done for politically correct reasons too. "Inclusive of non-Christian people", or just intolerant of any mention of religion. If you feel that way, then MAKE YOUR OWN SYSTEM - don't just steal one!

Tom C
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Toolsmith prefers the system

Toolsmith objects to Dionysius' religious references, and wonders who would better be considered Lord. Perhaps, in fact, he rejects those, and prefers the system that celebrated Diocles, a cruel ruler who was best known for his slaughter of Christians.

Because, for whom would a liberal prefer to base his calendar on - Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior - or, instead, on a despot who murdered His followers?

Toolsmith
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I'm sure you simply

I'm sure you simply misunderstood me, so I will clarify.

I objected to the modern folks who stole the system and renamed it for politically correct reasons, not to the original system created by the monk in question. He decided not to continue using the system that celebrated a cruel ruler, and created the new system to replace it. Much better motives than his modern plagiarists.

The system Dionysius invented was his creation, brilliant in its simplicity. Previous systems had either used numerous rulers or consuls, a single ruler such as Augustus or Diocletian (not Diocles), the date of creation (Anno Mundi: computed in various ways but still very uncertain), or Olympiads (4 year cycles starting at the first greek Olympics in 776 BC). The AD system was simpler to use, and theoretically not subject to as many inaccuracies.

It is dishonest for modern folks to simply keep using the dates, while burying the reasoning behind them and the brilliance of the man who created them. What does it matter where it came from? Do you hear any of them objecting to Islamic or Jewish calendar dates (both of which are similarly religion-based)?

David Allen
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The question isn't whether

The question isn't whether this calendar or that calendar is the right one. The question is what calendar does the government of the United States use, and is it based on a particular religion, and if so, which one?? Should the government be allowed to force everyone in the US to adhere to an Islamic calendar? A Jewish calendar? A Christian calendar? A Buddhist calendar? Why should a Muslim, a Jew or any non-Christian be required to sign documents based on a Christian calendar? Especially the old, "In the year of Our Lord..." Whose Lord might that be? Anyway, freedom of religion is the cornerstone of our democracy, and no one religion, even the religion of the majority, should be allowed to dictate its dogma to members of other religions.

Melvin Udall
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It won't be long before it is

It won't be long before it is BO, and AO.

tommclaughlin
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David says: "The question is

David says: "The question is what calendar does the government of the United States use, and is it based on a particular religion, and if so, which one?"

Why should it matter? It's Tuesday at 9:02 now based on the international dateline going through Greenwich, UK. It's there because of the hegemony England enjoyed at the time it was established. There were more learned people with more influence in England then than anywhere else. Should that arbitrary line of longitude be changed now because of shifting influence? Should we be outraged that imperial white men of that time imposed it on us? Ridiculous. It met a need. It gave the world a standard for knowing what day it was. The new annual designations didn't change the basic math. AD corresponds exactly to CE. The way we measure macro time is still based on when Jesus Christ lived because, to the monk who established it, the life of Christ was most significant. The prime meridian went through England for a similar reason. We made hourly time zones to accommodate train schedules in the USA.. Placement of the lines between them is equally arbitrary. All if this is attributable to the preeminence of western civilization and its heritage passed on to us.

So, the question is not, as you say: "Why should a Muslim, a Jew or any non-Christian be required to sign documents based on a Christian calendar" The question is rather: "Why should Progressives be offended by any of this and feel compelled to change it? To what end? Assuaging the feeling of Jews or Muslims who might feel offended?

I believe their purpose is to purge Christ from the public square.

Tom C
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I'm sure you simply

I'm sure you simply misunderstood me, so I will clarify.

My point was simpler than your explaination.

Who, do you think, was Dionysius' Domini?

Toolsmith
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"Toolsmith objects to

"Toolsmith objects to Dionysius' religious references, and wonders who would better be considered Lord."

Tom C, I did NO SUCH THING. I objected to modern folks STEALING and RENAMING a system invented by someone else. Make your own damn system, NO PLAGIARISM. I don't care if it is based on a historical or religious figure... it's just a way of using a fixed starting point to simplify usage.

Anyone who whines endlessly about a calendar system being forced on them is an ANTI-RELIGIOUS HYPOCRITE... who, btw, has no problem forcing a SECULAR system on EVERYONE without any notice or consent!

Tom C
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So angry.

So angry.

But, again, I ask:

Tell me, who do you think Dionysius' Domini is?

Vikingstar
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Ummm...Tom C.?

Ummm...Tom C.?

Unless I am mistaken, I think Toolsmith is agreeing with you.

Tom C
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Impossible. No one agrees

Impossible. No one agrees with me. I have to fight EVERYBODY.

Toolsmith
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I was *trying*... maybe not

I was *trying*... maybe not succeeding, tho! ;-)

pmconusa
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The calendar has nothing to

The calendar has nothing to do with religion but with an attempt by society to order the changing of the seasons and the days and nights into a consistent and repeatable order of the timing of the earth's annual rotation around the sun.. The Gregorian calendar comes closest and even it has to be adjusted every four years by adding an additional day. The Muslims and the Jews before them used the lunar cycle which required their holy periods to move in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. The Jews use the same calendar but move their holy days in conformance with the Gregorian Calendar. The Orientals that originally recognized the benefits of a solar reference as opposed to a lunar one just call their years by different names rather than numbers and when they finally adopted numbers as well because they kept repeating the names of living creatures who naturally follow the solar cycle determined they had ben using this system for over 6000 Gregorian years.

KennyRoberts
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right pmcusa, we just

right pmcusa, we just celebrated Ground Hog Day.

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