Fri 22nd Aug 2014 | Last updated: Fri 22nd Aug 2014 at 16:48pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Boris Johnson is right to raise suspicions about the BBC’s absurd use of BCE/CE

If our timeline does not commemorate the birth of Christ it has no business to exist at all

By on Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The BBC's website refers to BCE/CE rather than BC/AD as it is 'religiously neutral'

The BBC's website refers to BCE/CE rather than BC/AD as it is 'religiously neutral'

I don’t always agree with Boris Johnson. I find his writing style sometimes too florid and his carefully honed bumbling public persona a bit contrived. But I had to applaud his article in the Telegraph on Monday in which he scorned the BBC for apparently wanting to change the long-established division of world history from AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ) into the modern and secular CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before Common Era).

As Boris (who does not pretend to be a shining light of Christian faith and practice) puts it in his inimitable way: “It is all so darned nonsensical. There was no Mr Common Era preaching a ministry in Galilee in the first century AD. There was no Eran religion and no followers of Common.” I have always found the fashion these days to refer to a “Common Era” equally absurd and for the same reason. Whenever I have reviewed a book that insists on using it I draw attention to its meaningless nature.

Being a fan of Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, I was cast down when I once read an article by him, also referring to CE and BCE. Having read that the usage was pioneered by Jewish writers in the 19th century, I can see why the Chief Rabbi uses it – but he still goes down very slightly in my estimation for bowing to this pressure, either from his 19th-century forebears or for reasons of political correctness. Whether you are a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist or anything else, you have to accept that since the sixth century this division of time has been the accepted tradition, adopted universally. You can’t rewrite history.

Boris continues: “If the BBC is going to continue to put MMXI at the end of its programmes – as I think it does – then it should have the intellectual honesty to admit that this figure was not plucked from nowhere. We don’t call it 2011 because it is 2011 years since the Chinese emperor Ai was succeeded by the Chinese emperor Ping (though it is)… It is 2011 years since the (presumed) birth of Christ.” As he indicates, this historical division has been in usage for over 1,500 years and is accepted in “China, Japan and just about anywhere you care to mention…”

But is Johnson right to lambast the BBC for making such an absurd policy change? No, according to the Guardian journalist, Polly Curtis; she writes: “I asked the BBC whether it is true that the terms AD and BC had been dropped. They categorically denied it. A spokesperson said: “Whilst the BBC uses BC and AD like most people as standard terminology, it is also possible for individuals to use different terminology if they wish to, particularly as it is now commonly used in historical research.”

She goes on to say that the story “originated from the BBC’s religious website, where it states, ‘In line with modern practice, bbc.co.uk/religion uses BCE/CE as a religiously neutral alternative to BC/AD. As the BBC is committed to impartiality it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.’ ” Polly Curtis concludes with the comment: “The BBC hasn’t dropped the use of BC or AD, but one website editor has decided that BCE/CE was more appropriate.”

I don’t think this makes Boris entirely wrong. Even if the BBC hasn’t changed its official policy, the “spokesperson’s” remarks invite suspicion and raise all sorts of questions: is CE/BCE really so common in historical research? Who says so? What does “in line with modern practice” mean? How can CE/BCE be described as a “religiously neutral” alternative, when it is obviously hostile to the religious implications of AD/BC? Are non-Christians really offended? Knowing how the BBC treated the subject of euthanasia recently in its film about Terry Pratchett and the Dignitas clinic, I don’t think my suspicions are unreasonable. Johnson is right to raise his hackles.

Leofranc Holford-Strevens, author of A Short History of Time (2005), put Boris’s point more elegantly, writing in his scholarly and erudite book: “If [this timeline] does not commemorate the birth of Christ it has no business to exist at all, for no other event of world-historical significance took place in either 1 BC or AD 1… Although, as a date for the birth of Jesus Christ, the epoch is almost certainly wrong, it remains a commemoration of that event. Attractive, especially in a globalised age, as a purely secular era may appear, the Christian era cannot be made secular by denying its origin.”

Quite so.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a long time fan of the BBC (radio only) but this constant fear of offending anyone but Christians is really starting to grate with me and many others I speak to. Why don’t they just go the whole hog and rename themselves the Island-grouping-off-the-edge-of-Continental-Europe-but-maybe-not-including-NI-Wales-or-Scotland Eco-transmitting Co-operative. Why the self-hate? Why the needless soul-searching?

    Nobody thinks about BC/AD in daily life except maybe a few extremists, is that who the BBC wish to side with? I do wish they would snap out of their sixth-form equality workshop mentality and concentrate on their primary function; providing information. This after all, is the 21st Century.

  • Parasum

    “is CE/BCE really so common in historical research? Who says so?”

    It’s used all the time in academic journals. I first met it in the 1970 Encyclopedia Judaica. There are other eras too: notably the Jewish Era since the Creation, which begins in what we call 3761 BC. And Muslims count from the Hejira in 622 AD. Talk of a “Common Era” has the advantage of recognising that that count is in widespread use, while not imposing it on non-Christians. No-one is saying Christians can’t use it.  I’m all for not offending people if and when, with a bit of care, offence can be avoided.

  • Parasum

    “is CE/BCE really so common in historical research? Who says so?”

    It’s used all the time in academic journals. I first met it in the 1970 Encyclopedia Judaica. There are other eras too: notably the Jewish Era since the Creation, which begins in what we call 3761 BC. And Muslims count from the Hejira in 622 AD. Talk of a “Common Era” has the advantage of recognising that that count is in widespread use, while not imposing it on non-Christians. No-one is saying Christians can’t use it.  I’m all for not offending people if and when, with a bit of care, offence can be avoided.

  • Honeybadger

    Who is Common Era anyway? Common in what respect?

    What era was it before it became common? Was it Un-common?

    I’m with Boris Johnson on this!!!!!

  • Oconnordamien

    ” Are non-Christians really offended? 
    The answer in general is a resounding no. To give an example, when I plan a journey, I calculate it in miles. When I plan to put up a curtain rail I use metres and centimetres. One system is more suitable for one job, the other system for another. So do I get offended if someone describes a journey in kilometres and their curtains in feet? Of course not.

    So that leads to the question why are christians so miffed by two different systems. Do we all have to stick to your terms of measurement even if we find another more suitable?

    PS I greatly look forward to the forthcoming controversy ” Is the kelvin measurement offending non-scientists? How dare they use absolute zero as their term of reference rather than the freezing point of water.”

  • Anonymous

    It does seem silly because it is at least equally offensive to refer to a common era when it is not common to Muslims and/or Jews or whatever other group of people has a different dating system.

    Moreover, it is merely the same system under a different name, so people might be offended that the Christian dating system is being introduced surreptitiously.

  • Anonymous

    Below is the complaints page for the BBC. It only takes three minutes to submit a complaint.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

    Having read this article I have just submitted my 6th complaint in a year with regard to the BBC’s anti-Christian stance.

    For the sake of three minutes I hope everyone reading this article complains every time the BBC attacks Christians.

  • Nat_ons

    It is pure anti-Christian fancy, nothing more nothing less. 2011 is a year denoting a character specific calendar, not some supposed common manner of dating years. Your own point shows that other dating systems are just as valid and being held commonly – especially the dating system of Islam. In fact that is a much more widespread dating system that is genuinely held in common, so if one wishes merely a common system that is the ideal one (at least this has the intellectual honesty of tradition, unlike the nonsense of ‘a common era’ that is not held in common by any but a few). 

    Intellectuals in their hostility to Rome’s claims to catholic authority and to all but the most meaningless notions of ‘Christianity’ wanted to continue the system prevailing in the world of European learning (and used in its imperial colonies), because that was the culturally dominant form which they took as commonly held, but with Christ (and Rome) excised.
    I use BCE/ CE only where the convention demands it; often noting when I do that I use these as ‘Before the Christian Era’ and ‘Christian Era’ (making addenda where necessary for culture specific purposes).

  • Oconnordamien

    Common Era is pretty much as commonly used is the main point. The numbers are important not why the year zero was chosen. Who in normal use adds the AD to 2011?

    But very true point, I think that’s why it’s far more important to be factually correct than politically correct.

  • Anonymous

    So letting their staff choose which system to use is “attacking Christians”? This seems on par with the criticism that not allowing Christians to persecute others amounts to the persecution of Christians. Whether BC/AD or BCE/CE is used, is that not, by your measure, ‘attacking’ Jews or Moslems?

    By the way, I have written a number of complaints to the BBC this year criticising certain pro-Christian aspects. (The latest criticised the credulousness with which they treated exorcism.)

  • Oconnordamien

    I had some quotes lately for some work on my house. One  left me confused. The american guy gave me a quote in meters. I tried to think, gas-meters or taxi-meters? Then of course I realised he was referring to Metres.
    I was deeply offended that he used meters as a measure in a country where we spell it metres and dismissed his quote despite the fact he was most qualified for the job in hand.

    Now I have a leaky central heating system.

  • Bob Hayes

    AD/BC is widely understood and readily allows for other date systems. In contrast, CE/BCE implies some sort of universality. The BBC seems to view ‘neutrality’ as a course of action that has the ability to offend all equally. Another tick in the diversity box then? In its pathetic attempt at being ever-so PC it has, in fact, committed itself to a term that reeks of Western cultural imperialism and developed world arrogance. 

  • Anonymous

    No surprises here from the BBC. They do absurd, so well, in so many ways.

  • Anonymous

    @ Damo O C.
                              Leaky central heating ? In 2011. Not good. Would be worse of course if it was common era year 15, 272.5!! lol

  • Anonymous

    ” As the BBC is committed to impartiality” ha ha ha, as if!

  • Oconnordamien

    Pity it’s not Stardate 15, 272.5. Then I could get Scotty to fix it before it blows!

  • Anonymous

    Yes it is ridiculous; but:

    Mrs Phillips: Do you really want a Chief Rabbi who would use terminology which would deny his religious beliefs? We dwell in the time of Our Lord & Saviour but Lord Sacks does not believe it!

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me the decision to radically alter the designations for historically different eras in the world’s history, was engineered by atheistic cultural elites in the West to neutralize the effects of the universally accepted BC/AD terms.  It is a barely covered ideological attack on the “Christian”perception of the significance of the birth of Christ to the world at large, which ostensibly is to remove any possible offence that the continuation to use BC or AD might cause non-Christians.  Some might term it a modernization of such terminology but those who have been at the wrong end of the marginalization of Christian belief in the West realize the insidious nature of such attitudes.

  • Anonymous

    This is an blatant ideological attempt to undermine commonly accepted terms to divide temporal world history because they had deep roots in a Christian understanding of it.  They have been in universal use for nigh on 1,500 years.  It is political-correctness gone mad and shows the illiberal tendencies of an atheistic cultural elite.  So you decided to express your dissatisfaction to the BBC because one of their programmes decided to investigate the much-understood phenomena of exorcism.  Do you spend your time flicking through television schedules so that you can be easily offended when anything with Christian content is transmitted?

  • Judithbmw

     
    Here goes the Hypocritical BBC again.  I have stopped paying my licence fee in Protest of the use of the most misleading terminology in the dictionary, which is ‘Accident’ when referring to road traffic incidents.  It is also inappropriate and incorrect.  The term ‘accident’ is also deeply offensive, deeply distressing and insulting to the bereaved families of victims killed and maimed by other road users. 
    Many of us have made request to the BBC to stop using this term and use ‘Incident, Crash or Collision’ as these terms State a Fact, but all we receive is offensive, bullying replies.  So it must be that the BBC is Guilty Blatant Discrimination, Inequality and boarding on Hate Crime by refusing to remove the ‘A’ word and will bend over backwards not to offend others. Jude

  • chiaramonti

    One is reminded that it took Britain until 1752 to adopt the Gregorian calender introduced by the Bull Inter Gravissimas by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. You couldn’t have the British Empire adopting a calender introduced by the Papists, could you?

  • Anonymous

    I think your point that BC/AD have been in use a long time is a good one.

    I would not describe attempts to approach a verifiable truth (history, science, etc.) as ideological because these attempts can be made by anybody. It is not clear whether or not the Jesus of the Christian Bible is based on a person who existed in real life, nor when exactly he would have been born or conceived. From the academic perspective, it does seem a bit anomalous to refer to the date of an event as being so many years before an undefined event in the life of a possibly fictional character. What exactly are the initials BC supposed to stand for? How do you know that that term ‘common era’ was not introduced to address this anomaly?

    But surely a bit of inventiveness could have been used to at least allow the old acronyms to continue, even if alternative expansions were provided? That this was not done is no fault of the BBC who have to deal with the reality of choosing between BC/AD and BCE/CE.

    If, as some are suggesting, the BBC were anti-Christian, why would they not enforce the use of the slightly (but only slightly) less Christian BCE/CE in all departments?

  • Parasum

    To use absolute zero seems much more logical and much more natural than picking the freezing point of water. Why water, and not glue, cheese, absinthe, Scotch whisky, eye of toad, blood of newt, yttrium, ytterbium, or something else ? Why British water, and not water from Lake Huron or Kamchatka or the Yellow River or the Falkland Islands ? Or even water from Mars (if there is any) ?

  • Anonymous

    Could we perhaps change the days of the week? Some at least are derived from the names of pagan “gods”: Tuesday (Tiw: god of war); Wednesday (Woden – chief god); Thursday (doner: god of the sky); Friday (Fria – goddess of love).

    Then there are the months: January (Janus); March (Mars)

    And the names of planets ….

    These are all offensive to non-pagans.

  • Anonymous

    @TreenonPoet ” It is not clear whether or not the Jesus of the Christian Bible is based on a person who existed in real life”. That’s an easy accusation to make but I don’t think any reputable historian would support it. Wasn’t that one of those things propagated by a few 19th C scholars and taken up by the Communists?

  • Anonymous

    Which reputable historian has provided clear evidence that contradicts the arguments put forward on the web site http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/exist.html?

  • Bob Hayes

    And the imperialism of Julius (July) and Augustus (August) must surely give offence to some…..

  • Anonymous

    @Treenon I wouldn’t claim to be an expert in the field but I don’t find the text you link to indisputable. Sorry, not really up for a full-length discussion at the moment.

  • peregrinus

    Lets have a public consultation on the issue and waste lots of money on professional consultants to tell us what to do about something no-one cares about. 

    That’s the British way.  

  • Anonymous

    We should resist this, but at the same time we can say that CE stands for the Christian Era and BCE Before Christian Era

  • Oconnordamien

    Excellent idea, though we will of course need two sub-committees. One to determine, when it’s written, which font will be most PC. The other will determine ,when spoken, which regional accent will be least offensive.

    Perhaps we will need a third committee to determine the needs of the LGBT community. 

  • Oconnordamien

    Much though my point was a joke you hit on the genius of Celsius. The system he came up with was as visionary as Mendeleev’s, in that although incomplete was the best way to describe the known and the unknown. Celsius took a universal idea such as the freezing and boiling points of water and split them in 100 decimal points. Thus centigrade. Not bad for a man who was by trade an astronomer. But by doing so he also hit upon zero as the triple point of water, which is 0.01 by his grade. He did this in the 1740′s. (With the the help of Linnaeus who reversed the scale by then)

    So we don’t we use absolute zero as a normal starting point,(besides not being known at the time), well it just doesn’t work on planets, or even in planetary systems. Very few objects contain no heat energy. Besides it’s easier to say it’s plus 1 than it’s 274.15 degrees out.

    It’s easy to explain the use of water, it’s a universal human knowledge, but I will admit the use of VSMOW does confuse me. As a standard why is a measure from Austria, a land locked country, used as a standard for ocean water. 

    PS does anyone know how to get the little o that denotes degrees on a standard keyboard?

  • Parasum

    Very educational :)

    In answer to your last question – this page may have what you want I hope so anyway:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degree_symbol

  • Anonymous

    I think that when we consider that today a global monotheistic religion called Christianity with around 2 billion adherents started out as a small insignificant sect over 2000 years ago, I think it is highly unlikely that such a belief system would be based on the teachings of a “fictional” figure.  This is more than an assumption as we have the first hand accounts in the  synoptic gospels of Matthew Mark and Luke of the life and ministry of a man in Judaea called Jesus who by His death and resurrection convincingly backed up His claims to be the Son of God.  The accounts of those who witnessed the empty tomb are credible in terms of their consistency in the gospels along with the sightings of Jesus after the resurrection.  We also have extra-biblical references to Jesus from both Jewish and Roman historians of that period.
    I think that you are straining credibility when you say that the BBC are caught in a dilemma with regard to using BC/AD or BCE/CE.  The later designations have all the hallmarks of a PC bureaucy who want to revamp the universally accepted calender system of dividing history because it has “Christian” overtones and thus unacceptable for multi-cultural reasons.  The fact that the BBC does not apply in all departments does not detract from the crass idiocy of it all.  

  • Oconnordamien

    Thanks for the link.

  • Anonymous

    Do you really think that it is more likely that a man died and was resurrected than that a belief system would be based on the teachings of a fictional figure? (That sort of thinking gets you nowhere and so is rejected by progressive academics.) Many people might prefer to believe the former, or might have been taught the former, or might profess to believe the former in the face of social pressure, but that does not make it any more likely.

    The gospel accounts of the Resurrection appear contradictory, though doubtless the differences could be explained away in terms of reliability of witnesses etc. I have even heard Christians say that the discrepancies are a strength because it shows that there was no collusion between the gospel writers. In saying this, they are apparently oblivious to the implication that there is no reason to trust the gospels absolutely. This wariness is reinforced when claims are made of apparent violations of the laws of nature (let alone all the other shortcomings of the gospels). They simply do not constitute historical evidence of the existence of Jesus.

    I am more interested in the contemporary extra-biblical references to Jesus to which you refer. I am not aware of them and you do not supply references. I wonder if they indicate the date of birth…

    Suppose an academic wishes to convey the assertion that Titus Lucretius Carus lived between about 99 years and 55 years before the Common Era (as the page linked to does). He would discredit himself if he said that Lucretius lived between about 99 years and 55 years before Christ (because of the uncertainty about Christ), and he might even cause some Christian nutcases to say “Listen! Listen! This academic supports the belief in Jesus so adds to our credibility”. Furthermore, if Jesus was subsequently proven to have existed and to have been born in the year 50BCE, it would make a mockery of the statement (and of the statement that Christ was born 50 years before Christ). (See the definition of rigorous and compare with ‘crass idiocy’.)

    (Off topic, here is a report that shows exorcism is well understood to be an insane idea.)

  • Anonymous

    One must ponder the fact that the Christian belief-system has outlasted innumerable empires, ideoologies, cults and other beliefs over the period of two thousand years.  The unchanging core of Christianity in that time is that a man called Jesus, who claimed to be the incarnated Son of God, was put to death between two thieves on a lonely hill in Judaea but miraculously was resurrected on the 3rd day.  To paraphrase, St Paul if this version of events is false, then all our worship is in vain.  The gospel accounts of the empty tomb may contain evidence which does not tally in every respect, but these events were transcribed at least 30-40 years by the disciples of Jesus and in that time some details  may have become lost or even distorted in the memory recall of the original eye-witnesses.  This is not uncommon by any means as witnesses involved in trial cases years after a crime is committed will tell you.  But the basic fact remains that on the 3rd day after the crucifixion and burial of Christ, there was an empty tomb with no body in sight.  The apostles Simon Peter, John and a group of witness were witnesses to this. The head covering and body shroud which were customarily used in Jewish burials were folded up neatly to one side and no body in sight.  The huge rock covering the entrance to the tomb was mysteriously rolled aside by some inexplicable force.  The sentries on duty fled in fear of something that frightened them that particularly night. We also have eye-witness of accounts of sightings of Jesus after his death e.g by disciples on their way to Emmaus and the testimony by Thomas(known as doubting Thomas) after he felt the hole in Christ’s side which proved the authenticity of his wounds and suffering
    Here are my links to the extra-biblical evidence for Jesus that I alluded to in my previous comments-  
    http://www.rationalchristianity.net/jesus_extrabib.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus
    http://carm.org/non-biblical-accounts-new-testament-events-andor-people
    There is quite a lot of convincing quotes from contemporary historians of that period from Jewish, Greek and Roman backgrounds to make one look further into the enduring persistence of the historicity of Jesus Christ after 2000 years. 
    You make an obvious point about Jesus being born in a year that would make a mockery of the logic of using BC(Before Christ) e.g 50 B.C(the example that you gave).  The best modern research puts the birth years of Christ to be around 4 B.C-6.B.C.  It appears that readjustments had to be made in the early Christian era due to errors made in the original calender calculations. This in itself is not a contradiction of the Faith.
    As for your point about exorcism being insane, you should read the personal accounts of the priest exorcists in the field e.g An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth, one of the most famous priests who is charged with performing this particular function in 1986 in the Diocese of Rome. He has performed over 50,000 exorcisms according to his own estimates.  His accounts are not to be taken lightly and are at times very frightening.  The Catholic Church exercises great discretion before declaring anyone possessed by a demonic entity and only arrives at that conclusion after certain rigorous psychological/psychiatric tests have been conducted to rule out mental illness.  Thus the Church has a modern,some would say skeptical approach to this phenomenon.
    I stick with my description of the BBC’s decision to change the division of history into BC/BCE as “crass idiocy” as it is the overturning of a universal system based on christian roots which has stood the test of time. The  BBC is clearly ideologically driven in that regard.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that extensive reply and the links.

    I am surprised that you included the first link as the site openly admits its bias. To check its integrity, I had a look at what it said about a subject I know more about – evolution. It dismisses what it calls ‘secular evolution’ (what has the separation of church and state got to do with evolution?) without justification, so I am not going to waste my time any further on that site.

    The second link is consistent with my statement that it is not clear whether or not the Jesus of the Christian Bible is based on a person who existed in real life.

    The third link, as with the first, pushes Christianity rather than history. The site fails the ‘evolution’ test, though it does have a go at justifying its stance. The page you linked to cites the same sources that the other two sites (Josephus, Pliny, etc.), but still nothing conclusive. You might think that I am too demanding, but let me turn that round and ask why alleged evidence for a figure so crucial to Christianity is so sparse. Why do deities allegedly pass their message to the chosen few and rely on dissemination?

    “This in itself is not a contradiction of the Faith”
    But it is a contradiction of rationality to say that Christ was born about five years before Christ. That is not what I call withstanding the “test of time”.

  • theroadmaster

    Have you read the quotes from the historians and writers who were contemporaneous to the period around the time or just after the life of Jesus?  Their quotes would not be unlike the quotes of internet bloggers or reporters on current events today.  What do you mean by “nothing conclusive”?  Do you think if there was nothing behind the phenomenon as it existed at that time, that prominent historians of that period would comment on it?.  The evidence is certainly not plentiful, that  I admit.  But once you search through the first hand accounts in the gospels and add the commentries of contemporaneous writers and historians plus archaeological data that cannot be ignored, then you can build up a very credible case for the existence of the historical personage called Jesus.  One further point that you might ponder on.-why would men who wrote about their experiences with Jesus, put their lives on the line with no material gain for themselves, to promulgate what their Master taught them?  For example, Peter was crucified upside down in Rome, as he thought that he was not good enough to be put to death in the way that Jesus was.  It seems very peculiar that men who had everything to gain by living a quiet live would put themselves through such trials to proclaim  the reality of the life of Jesus Christ if he was just fictional.
    Wether Jesus was born in 5 BC or 10 BC, it is the reality of His life that matters.  My description of the BC/AD system has stood the test of time-for over 1,500 years if truth be told.  I explained any descrepancies in terms of errors by early Church authorities regarding the calender calculations behind the dating system.

  • Anonymous

    I did read the quotes. I don’t claim that they do not support the existence of a Christian movement, nor that the archaeological data do not correspond with some things mentioned in the Christian Bible. I only claim that it is not conclusive that the Jesus of the Christian Bible (the miracle performer who was resurrected) existed.

    People put their lives on the line for all sorts of reasons; I think that to bring this in is another attempt to work backwards from a conclusion to select evidence that might be interpreted sympathetically. If I suggested that the early deaths of these people indicated that no God was looking after them, I’m sure you would dismiss that because it does not fit another of your certainties.

    I have stated some advantages of a rigorous dating system over a traditional one. The rigorous one uses the same origin as the BC/AD one and might be described as giving a prejudiced nod in favour of Christianity, but it seems that this is not good enough for you.

    I can think of another argument that might be made by Christians in favour of BC/AD. It has not yet been made on this thread, I guess because it would be giving the game away. The whole thing reminds me of the arguments made to put Religious Education into the English Baccalaureate.

  • theroadmaster

    I think that at the end of the day, Faith plays a huge part in one’s one approach to the historicity of Jesus Christ and His claims to be Son of God.  Faith can be  leap in the dark when empirical evidence, a prerequisite fo r scientifiic or historical investigation is demanded.  My instinct is that man or woman are not  the end result of blind chance or random mutation but have both a corporeal and spiritual aspect given to them by a Divine Creator.  I see the complexity and orderliness of the cosmos or the wonderful complexness of the human genome that scientists have mapped out and see that these are very unlikely to to be the product of mere chancoe.  Also the persistent nature of the Christian message over 2000 years, the life of whose founder has been verified by eye-witness accounts in the gospel stories as well as the extra-biblical references also from the era of Jesus, convince me ot the truth that God incarnate was on Earth.

  • Cjkeeffe

    So the muppets at the BBC think that CE and BCE are religiously nuetral phrases. The answer is that it is not as still focussess on that historic event of Christs Incarrnation. And thus can be given a more sectarian wording. BEC Before teh Christian Era and CE the Christian Era. But, this PC madness does not achieve what they want it too. As  what about Islam and Sikhsism. The former invented in 600′s AD or CE. And ther later in the 1600′s. So surely if we are doing this nonsence to not upset anyone (who we are upsetting I don’t know), 2011 would really be something like 411 CE if we where to go by the establishment of Sikhism as a religion.

  • Anonymous

    I did not want to reply as it is usually fruitless putting forward arguments that are rejected because they contradict a faith. However, your phrase “product of mere chancoe” kept niggling. Mutations might be considered to be random (although that is not strictly correct), but over billions of years, there can be a lot of them. It is when you combine this with natural selection that the chances of primitive life evolving into something as complex as a human being becomes much more likely.

  • bruno

    the BBC is english or chinese?