Australia to remove BC and AD from school history books

The decision by the Australian government to ditch the Christian calendar in school history books has been met by anger.

Instead of BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini), the curriculum will use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) instead.

The change in abbreviations does not equate to a change in dates, but the Archbishop of Sydney the Most Rev Peter Jensen has described BCE and CE as “meaningless”.

He said the move yesterday was an “intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history”.

BCE and CE abbreviations have been in circulation for hundreds of years, but have become increasingly popular with scientists and academics in the last few decades.

According to the Daily Mail, the changes were supposed to be introduced next year but have been delayed because of the backlash.

Christopher Pyne, of the Liberal National Party, blamed political correctness for the change.

“Australia is what it is today because of the foundations of our nation in the Judeo-Christian heritage that we inherited from Western civilisation,” he said.

“Kowtowing to political correctness by the embarrassing removal of AD and BC in our national curriculum is of a piece with the fundamental flaw of trying to deny who we are as a people.” Via: xtian today

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Comment by Rob Todd on September 13, 2011 at 12:12pm

Who cares, it's still based on the same thing, which is the supposed birth of Jesus. Calling something by a different name does not magically change what it is.

Comment by Graham on September 13, 2011 at 12:25pm

It changes the perception of what it is, though, hopefully disassociating it from any religious connotations in the minds of future generations. Measurement of dates has to start somewhere, and to suddenly switch to a different starting point, however appealing, would cause chaos - worse than the supposed millennium bug in computers 11 years ago. Even more so, if done unilaterally, by just one country. Bravo, Australia - go and lobby the rest of the world to follow suit (and see how far you get).

Comment by Daniel Clear on September 13, 2011 at 12:26pm

agree with Rob. like it or not, regardless of belief, most of the planet uses baby jebus's supposed birthday to mark our calendars. it is what it is, like a qwerty keyboard, too hard to change now.


if anything i agree with xtians on this as that's what it is. it's a purely human abstract just as our weekdays are named after pagan gods. all human culture carries mythical baggage so this seems a bit pointless.

Comment by Artor on September 13, 2011 at 8:20pm

Some Dominionists look to the Founding Documents of the US and point to where Jefferson, et al used "Anno Domini" or even "In the Year of Our Lord..." and say "Look everyone!!! They were Xtians! This really IS an Xtian country!!!eleven!1!!" By getting rid of the old Catholic reckoning, and just referring to it as the Common Era, we have a system that has the advantage of aligning with everything that used the old system, and avoids confusion by not suggesting that everything that has a date on it is endorsing Xtianity. Calling it the Year of "Our Lord" is inaccurate, as Jeebus is not the lord of me or of an increasing number of people every year.

Comment by Rob Todd on September 13, 2011 at 11:02pm

Then shall we rename the day of the weeks, and some of the months? What about many of the celestial bodies? We certainly don't want to give the impression that we are aligned with pagan gods after all.

Comment by Eoganacht on September 14, 2011 at 12:53am

Pff! I was using BCE and CE long before it became popular!

Besides, none of the actual dates change, just their suffix, and that is easily interchangeable anyway.

Comment by Rob Todd on September 14, 2011 at 1:40am

Answer this question for me, what makes the time period after the supposed birth of Jesus (ahem Yeshua) a common era, and the time before not so common?

Comment by Robert Karp on September 14, 2011 at 9:00am

I think it's a good thing. If the word "Christ" is taken away as a defining term for a period of time, them I like it.  The difference in my opinion comes when teaching a child about the dates for the first time. "Johnny, BCE means before the common era". Instead of saying, "Johnny BC means before christ."  I realize that the next question out of Johnny's mouth would be, well what marks the common era and the answer to that is, the birth of christianity which is nearly just as bad. However, to me this is still a positive baby-step to a more secular society. Unless we ditch the entire calendar, we are stuck with what we have.  So not giving baby jebus so much credence and credit, albeit in semantics alone for the most part, to me is a good thing. And I dont know what the xians are all pissed off at anyway. CE refers to common era but also chrisitan era.

Comment by Daniel Clear on September 14, 2011 at 9:08am

comment by Graham: "It changes the perception of what it is, though, hopefully disassociating it from any religious connotations in the minds of future generations."


I see your point but I think it's wrong to do this. the calendar we use IS based on a religious event, dressing it up as "common era" IMO is worse. it makes us look like we're in denial. I might rename my next shit chanel #5 but it won't smell any better.


The religious connotation in the minds of future generations is an issue but the real fight is to render christian religion obselete so future generations will see BC and AD in the same way we see "wednesday".


Religion in one form of another has shaped our cultural evolution. the use of Before Christ is nothing more than a vestigal phenotype. every december I celebrate a secular festival on a pagan holy day with a christian name. that's the way it is.


Christians themselves celebrate their zombie day in spring and still use the name of the pagan fertility goddess for the festival. now if an organisation as uptight as christianity can use the word Easter with all it's unholy rampant sexual connotations I can manage to use BC and AD without a problem on the basis that THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE! (ignoring the fact "christ" may not be anyone's name and I don't recognise a storybook character as "lord" but then I don't believe in Woden either and here I am happily sending emails with the word "Wednesday" in the sent field.

Common Era is actually as incorrect as any other on the grounds that the calendar has been re-written so often that 400 CE would not have been 400 CE in 400 CE.

as secular cruisades (if i may) go, this one is uber-lame

Comment by Graham on September 14, 2011 at 9:26am

I see your points, too, Daniel. However, the names of days and months refer to religious figures that are long-since obsolete. The only terms that have any currency with existing religious significance are "BC" and "AD". Retaining them only reinforces Christians' ideas that they still have relevance. Changing them to something else (I'm open to suggestions about what they may become) chips away at their feeling of superiority, and takes a small step towards what you say is the goal - "to render christian religion obsolete".


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