"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Monday, 3 October 2011

BC/AD Vs BCE/CE on the BBC

What is it with this Christian persecution complex? It seems some Christians are never happy unless they can prove their precious and over privileged beliefs are being marginalised or “banned”.
This time it is over the substitution of the secular BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) for the “traditional” BC and AD on the B.B.C Religion and Ethics web site.
Since the site is for all flavours of religion this seems fair enough to me, after all what relevance is Anno Domini to a Buddhist? Also BCE/CE is the accepted academic format so would seem the logical choice.
Some people have protested that there is a BBC wide edict against the use of BC/AD, but this has been denied by Aaqil Ahmed the B.B.C head of religious programming.
"We have issued no editorial guidelines or instructions to suggest that anyone in the BBC should change the terms they use."
In any event colloquially many people read CE as Christian Era instead of Common Era, which is fine and makes some logical sense. The abbreviations themselves have also been around for some time
The English phrase "common Era" appears at least as early as 1708, and in a 1715 book on astronomy is used interchangeably with "Christian Era" and "Vulgar Era"
There is a definite oversensitivity to issues like this lately. Christians (and the more generally religious) don’t seem to realise the difference between not privaliging their world view and attacking it. Neither this country or the world at large is predomonantly Christian and with luck the last census will indicate this country isn’t even mostly religious, we shouldn’t need public discourse to be littered with assumptions of religious truth where other secular alternatives are available.

1 comment:

  1. This is happening in some American universities, and there is some protest against it here, as well.