Responses to BC/AD vs. BCE/CE (Political Correctness in Overdrive)

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The BC/AD vs. BCE/CE debate is one where political correctness is on overdrive, but Christians' response is no better. The fight is a distraction.

The Longview News-Journal ran an article where they interviewed local religious leaders to get their views regarding the debate over time designations. The debate is whether the traditional B.C./A.D. designations should be replaced by the non-religious B.C.E./C.E. designations. For those unfamiliar with these terms, these are the meanings of these terms.

  • B.C. – Before Christ
  • A.D. – Anno Domini (Year of our Lord)
  • B.C.E. – Before Common Era (in place of B.C.)
  • C.E. – Common Era (in place of A.D.)

The News-Journal referenced two religious leaders: Dr. Keith Rothra, pastor of Judson Community Baptist Church and professor of Texas and United States government; and Anwar Khalifa, local Muslin leader and president of the East Texas Islamic Society. Their responses to this debate were quite intruguing and revealing.

Source Article: Religious leaders fight secular time designations

Their responses are quite revealing and I must say I agree with them. Below are some short quotes from the article.

“I think we have become a hypersensitive society,” the Rev. Keith Rothra of Judson Community Baptist Church said. “It has been B.C. and A.D., for Before Christ and Anno Domino [sic] (Latin, in the Year of Our Lord) for centuries, and now we have become so hypersensitive to make sure no one gets offended about anything.”

“Is that what it’s come to?” Anwar Khalifa asked. “Now we’re going to go and pick on something that’s been around forever? I mean, we’ve got bigger fish to fry than B.C. or B.C.E. We’ve got sharks that we need to fry.”

“How about we if we called it the year 2006?” Rothra asked, dropping both suffixes. “If you want to get accurate about it, Jesus was probably born in 4 B.C. That would make it 2010.”

He [Dr. Rothra] brings up another cogent point: Most Biblical scholars do place the first Christmas at 4 B.C. or 6 B.C. The religious tolerance site places some definitely non-Christian events in the year 1 A.D./C.E., citing the July edition of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. That was the year Buddhism was introduced in China and the year lions became extinct in Western Europe, according to the site.

I recommend reading the full article.

My response is this is a minor issue and can be used to detract the church from its primary mission of making disciples. While I prefer the traditional designations and I do believe the change is a part of a larger attempt to neuter the world of any Christian imagery, this debate can be a distraction. I recommend using the traditional designations and not being so uptight or so easily offended. It seems that people are very easily offended and want to ensure nobody becomes offended by what others say. However, many Christians are offended by the anti-religious movement. So, the lesson is that people are too sensitive and are looking for anything to start a fight. The church needs to not be sucked into this vacuum and must always remain faithful to Christ and working toward its mission.

About John L. Rothra
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