[Ed. – This post is a condensed version of the original, which can be found at Red State.]
Daily headlines prove that Christian persecution has reached epidemic proportions, creating a global humanitarian and political crisis, most notably in the Middle East and Africa.
Concurrently, all Christians throughout the world are experiencing another form of persecution. On the surface it is peaceful and silent, but underneath just as deadly as the physical kind sans the torture, beheadings, and refugees. This subtle form of Christianity bashing is so quiet that Christianity’s 2.4 billion followers are largely unaware it is even happening. The “persecution” comes from pressure by society and popular culture to abandon traditional B.C./A.D. time dating in favor of B.C.E./C.E. dating now quickly gaining worldwide acceptance. For those unfamiliar, let’s define all the terms.
B.C. stands for Before Christ and A.D. represents Anno Domini, Latin for “in the year of our Lord.”
B.C.E. stands for Before the Common Era, while C.E. means Common Era.
Given my religious background as a Jewish convert to Christianity since 1975, I feel compelled to take a stand against this “time dating persecution,” which is also a de facto war on Christianity — and one Christians are losing.
For me, it all started back in 1963 when my 8-year-old ears first heard the historic dating terms B.C.E. and C.E. while attending Hebrew school at our local temple.
After asking my teacher what the initials B.C.E. and C.E. represented, she mouthed the words, but neglected to define “Common Era” itself. I remember wondering why, if this Common Era was so “common,” I had never heard of it – not an unreasonable thought considering that I attended public elementary school where the term “B.C.” was always associated with ancient history – especially dinosaurs and cavemen.
As the 20th century progressed, and throughout my education and adult life experiences, the terms B.C. and A.D. reigned supreme as the demarcation line separating ancient from “modern” history.
Now, 15 years into the 21st century I have begun to notice an increase in the use of B.C.E. and C.E. in museums, online, in print, and on television. In fact, while watching the recent Eastertime CNN series, “Finding Jesus,” I noticed the exclusive use of B.C.E./C.E. dating. That show became the impetus for this piece and launched my new crusade arguing against Common Era dating.
Besides my husband and myself, I wonder if other Christians who watched “Finding Jesus” appreciated the irony that Common Era dating – which diminishes Jesus’s impact on history and all mankind – was the dating system CNN used for a series about Jesus.
Back in 1856, when Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall first introduced B.C.E./C.E. dating in his book, “Post Biblical History of the Jews,” he could not have imagined the impact those simple abbreviations would have in the 21st century. Common Era dating is now embraced by such cultural trendsetters as the British Broadcasting Corporation, the History Channel, World Almanac, and the College Board and is preferred by the Smithsonian Institution.
The preference for Common Era dating became more or less official for liberals everywhere when no less a personage than Kofi Annan, at the time United Nations secretary general, proclaimed in a speech in 1999:
The 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.
Global embrace of the the term “Common Era,” while sounding so innocent, inclusive, and non-offensive, is actually a bloodless way of persecuting Christians by negating the historical fact that Jesus Christ so changed and shaped the world that since A.D. 525 that human history has been calculated and divided into time before and after his birth.
This topic is explored in one of my all-time favorite books, “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” Co-authored by the late D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, this 1994 book details how Jesus impacted the world in ways that we observe and live every day, including in the areas of architecture, art, charity, education, literature, music, and — not least of all — morality.