BC/AD, BCE/CE, AC/DC
What's In a Name?
Since we've left the dinosaurs, cavemen, and "Make Pangea Great Again" ballcaps of prehistory behind, we'll soon (and, by "soon," I mean "next week"), be getting into those bits of history which were actually written down.
Whether hieroglyphics, cuneiform, or Sanskrit (is that a
language? I think it's a language. Sounds like a language. As always, I don't feel like looking it up.), people will begin writing down political philosophies, business transactions, methods of agriculture, weather observations, and limericks.
Huh. Whaddya know? It is a language.
And it's a mother.
|"We chopped off the heads of 1,000 Hittites. You get that down?"|
They had no set reference, though. Okay, they probably did, but nothing like our standard method of dating. After all, we're so much advanced than the primitives of the past, with our space travel, electric cars, and poop on sidewalks.
|It's the San Francisco treat.|
NOTE: Judaism uses a different method of dating for their holy days. While they undeniably date things with the method others use, they also use a system based on the Torah, Abraham, or something like that to confuse the living daylights out of us. Or drive us meshuggah, if I may. Isn't it something like the year 4,000 or something? I don't know. My head hurts.
Since...uh...a long time ago, we've dated civilization using a
"BC/AD" convention. It's worked well as far as I've been alive. And, since I've been alive longer than most of you, it should work well for you, too. On the other hand, if you've been alive longer than I, good luck with those Depends, catheter sample packs, and Matlock marathons.
"Catheter Sample Packs are a basic human right!
BC, AD, whenever!"
|"The frik you mean I gotta wait four years!?"|
"B.C." stands for "Before Christ." Meaning "Before Christ Was Born" not "Before Christ First Started Shaving." I know that Jesus was born sometime around 4 B.C. (well, that's what the nuns told us), meaning Jesus was born four years before Jesus was born. We all get it, Perfesser.
"A.D." stands for "Anno Domini," which is Latin-not Greek-for "Year of Our Lord." It does not mean "After Death," you knucklehead. If that's what it stood for, then, since Jesus was something like 33 years old when he was crucified, there's something like 33 years (or 37, considering that 4 B.C. thing) unaccounted for.
In the last years of the 20th Century, though (proving that people have been wacky for decades), a new method of dating things has arisen in academia and general society: that of "B.C.E." or "Before the Common Era" and "C.E." or "Common Era."
This was done to downplay the influence of Christianity and the Western World. Don't try to tell me this isn't so.
Now, okay, I guess I'm okay with that. I mean, if I wasn't a
Christian, I'd probably have a problem with talking about something which happened in the "year of our Lord." After all, Jesus isn't the Jews' Lord, an atheist has no Lord (unless you count the "God of Climate Change."), pagans worship sticks, Jehovah's Witnesses worsh...hell, I don't know what they do, and Satanists idolize...uh...Satan. Muslims would get ticked, I suppose, but they're too busy bitching about ham on airplanes.
|"But turkey bacon is totally cool. Infidel."|
NOTE: I'm making outlandish generalizations for comedy purposes only. Get over yourselves.
The problem I have with this, though, is what exactly is "Common"? Sure, Christianity and Judaism are common (Buddhism was also around, I think, but I'm trying to make a point here). You can't exactly say Islam was common, because that religion didn't start raging around the Middle East and Mediterranean until 632 A.D.
This means that, if you were going for a "common" vibe (using the "Big Three." And Buddhism. Happy now?), the year should actually be 1387 C.E., instead of 2019 A.D. By the way, I know that "A.D." should go before the year, smart guy. Shut up.
No, what this is is a politically correct way of changing the name of something without actually changing anything. The years are still the same. In other words, Jesus was still born in the same year, except now it's 4 B.C.E.
If the "C" stood for "Christian," it would at least be an accurate statement of fact. Even though I'm not advocating that, you couldn't argue that Muhammed was born in 570 of the Christian Era.
So, if you want to go away from a Christian lens, why not date things from the start of Islam? Or maybe the founding of Rome? The fall of the Western Roman Empire? Norman Conquest? Invention of the sex doll?
I realize that won't happen because can you imagine the disruption that would cause to our sense of our place in the world, to say nothing of what it would do to Hallmark?
With that being the case, I'll just go right on using "BC" and "AD," thank you very much. There'll be no silly "B.C.E." and "C.E." nonsense here. If you're the type of person who is uncomfortable with those terms, rest assured that nothing is different.
The existence of syphilis was first recorded in 1495 A.D., which is the same as 1495 C.E.
|"Well, that's what condoms are for."|
There, that's something you know now.