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The American Dating System

Today’s Daily Blog is in recognition of Independence Day. One argument that I get from some particularly stupid fundamentalist Christians surprisingly a lot is that Christianity  must be true because we use Christ’s alleged birth as the basis for our dating system; BC meaning “Before Christ” and AD meaning “Anno Domini” (in the year or our lord).

Scholars have rejected that dating system is favor of another more politically correct dating system of BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era). However, for some strange and surely completely coincidental reason the Common Era happens to coincide perfectly with the Christian dating system based around the alleged birth of Jesus. What a copout. Personally, I don’t really like that, but for lack of another dating-system it is definitely preferable to the Christian one.

Next, I have noticed that most of the fundamentalists seem to think of themselves as super patriotic despite the fact that more often than not, they have zero clue about the Constitution, US History, and think that patriotism means wearing and waving the American Flag 24/7. Many of them are supporters of the failed attempt to rebellion against the United States known as the Confederacy. But I digress.

So, it is time for an experiment. Let’s make the fundamentalists choose. Are they more loyal to America or to Christianity? On this Independence Day weekend, I am announcing my extremely ambitious plan to remake the dating system yet again. The 12 month calendar can stay the same, but the new year zero will no longer be the alleged birth of Jesus. Instead, it will be the Signing of the American Declaration of Independence (Formerly 1776 AD or CE). That means that effective immediately today’s date will be Thursday, July 2rd 233 AE (American Era). For those not gifted in math, all you have to do is take the year you want to convert and subtract 1776 from that year on our calculating device.

Now I know that America isn’t the center of the world and the Earth is a big place. But let’s face facts the American Declaration of Independence did reshape the world first by putting the seeds in motion for the creation of our current super power status. Second, The Declaration re-popularized democracy and third by making governments accountable to their people and inspiring people of all nations to rebel against unjust rule. The American Revolution was the revolution for the entire world. Besides, this is after all an experiment to test the loyalties of fundamentalist Christians in America.

Call to Action: Please contact your Congressperson and both of your Senators and let them know that you support the American Dating System and that they should propose the bill. The year is 233 AE (American Era) and anything before that would be BAE (Before the American Era). Let’s see if the uber-patriotic fundamentalists will put their religion over their patriotic need to put America first.

Below, I have drafted a letter that I am sending out and am encouraging you to also send out to your Senators and congressperson. They usually respond to every letter they receive first with a form letter of acknowledgement and then a few weeks later with a more in depth letter. When you do get that in depth letter back, please come back to this blog and let us know what your elected official has said.

Dear [elected official],
As Independence Day is right around the corner I was thinking about our dating system. What I mean by this is the way Americans and people around the world denote years. Traditionally, we use the BC/AD system which is a blatant endorsement of the Christian religion. BC as you are no doubt aware, means “Before Christ” and AD means “Anno Domini,” Latin for “In the Year of Our Lord.” I am a non-Christian patriotic American who strongly believes in the principle of Church/State separation, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court’s legal precedent of Lemon v. Kurtzman.

While we could opt for the more scholarly dating system of BCE/CE, I still think this is an endorsement of the Christian religion since the “Common Era” is just a politically correct way of saying the Christian Era. America should not use the alleged birth of a particular religious figure as the basis for our dating system.

I have a proposal to make and it is somewhat controversial. I propose that you make a bill in favor of a new American dating system which uses the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the basis. The year 1776 would now be the year 0. We would currently be in the year 233 AE (American Era). Anything before the Declaration would be BAE (Before the American Era).

This is a serious proposal with obvious Constitutional support. But it is also a controversial proposal and so I can understand that if you don’t want your name all over the media you might not be the person to bring this proposal to life. But I ask you to consider it on this Independence Day weekend.
Thank you,

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  • Mr. X

    But how will we keep track of the (updated) apocalypse due-date?!

    • existential blues

      The world will end on 236 AE. It is prophesied. The FSM’s will be done.

  • http://shaunphilly.wordpress.com ShaunPhilly

    Wait, does that mean that Y2K will not have happened?

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      It means that Y2K hasn’t happened yet.

  • Kat

    Good Luck with that (:

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I’m not expecting to actually change the dating system, it is an experiment. Why don’t you help out and send three e-mails. Let’s see what the politicians say (especially the American First/fundamentalist Christians ones). Play along, it will be fun.

  • Scott

    Personally, if I was redoing the dating system, I would add +4000 to the current date. Ancient civilizations arose around 3000-3500 BCE. We had agriculture as far back as 8000 BCE but no real civilizations happened until thousands of years later. So to allow room for anything we discover a bit earlier than Mesopotamia and to keep the conversion simple, we just add +4000. So it is 6009 right now then. Before civilization, dates just aren’t as important so they can get the BCE treating in dating. Why have the BCE system active during important human history to begin with?

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      How would that help the experiment? We can use all kinds of important dates as our starting point, but I chose this one for a very particular reason. First, let’s admit that the current dating system is not going to change. Aside from scholarly journals, no one even uses the BCE/CE thing. And that is pretty much the same as BC/AD. Besides, not congress person or senator is going to touch this. But this is an interesting test to see who the uber-patriots/Jesus freaks will side with. So please play along and send your senators and congress person e-mails.

      • Scott

        I was just posting some idea I long thought about. But anyhow, Jesus freaks/uber-patriots that have to choose to either side with their lord or their country would be interesting. I have a feeling though that idiots from Texas would be arrogant enough to say we need the world to use 1776 as the beginning of the common era. And if they pick that instead of their lord than we can use that against them.

  • T0mkins0n

    “more often than not, they have zero clue about the Constitution, US History, and think that patriotism means wearing and waving the American Flag 24/7.”

    Can you back this up with data comparing conservative evangelicals with secular liberals or this just another assertion? If you compare the most extreme fundamentalists then they would probably choose God over country but the most extreme left-wingers, anarchists, Marxists etc., are in no way patriotic either. You are a big fan of the straw man I see.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I didn’t make a specific accusation. I made a general observation. All you have to do is look and see who plasters the American Flag everywhere and ask them if they consider themselves an evangelical/born again Christian. Then ask them a specific question about the Constitution that a reasonable person should know the answer too.

    • existential blues

      > but the most extreme left-wingers, anarchists, Marxists etc.

      Yeah, all thirteen of them.

      Compare with the number of people who want to teach out-and-out Christianity in public schools, who want to turn town council meetings into church services, the number who want to turn athletic events at public schools into prayer services, the popular Christian leaders who’ve explicitly said that the idea of separation between church and state is absurd (do you really need me to find the Pat Robertson, etc. quotes for you).

      Have you _ever_ been to the Deep South, or rural Texas?

      • Mr. X

        IDK, “existential blues”…when “T0mk1n50n” says “most extreme left-wingers,” I think he may be referring to “everyone who isn’t a Neocon.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/rothtalltales Tralf

    There for a second I thought you were going to rag on DATING, not the CALENDAR. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

    Randy

    • Mr. X

      Yeah, I was initially hoping for something more in the “Jerry Springer” vein…a little disappointed with all this talk about calendars…

      Hey, I know! Let’s start Year 0 in what was formerly 1492! Or maybe, on the date when we shot the first American Indian on what is present-day US soil!

    • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

      Me too, but the calendar thing is interesting too…and more relevant. I was told as a child in church that AD meant After Death, silly Christians.

      I hate it when we use the bible as though its fact.

      In my human sexuality class this quarter the text communicates that male circumcision was first invented by the Hebrew Abraham…there is no proof of that, and other cultures have their own version of male circumcision, some older than the Hebrew tribe.

      • Mr. X

        I bet it all began with a horrible accident, and an elaborate cover-story…

    • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

      lol i thought the same thinig haha

  • Ryan

    LMFAO……Though I applaud your effort, and am greatly amused with your Idea. I think that, like you said, no one will touch it, and nor should they, if the ignorant fools wish to hold on to their evil ideas to their death, then let them die.

    • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

      If I die, and I am wrong….it makes no difference. Because I am damn sure that if the God of Christianity is fake, every other religion has absolutely no chance of being true in any way, from my own studies this is immensely clear. Bring it on death! Well, Death can’t get me right now he has a broken ankle and he’s been sleepin on my couch….

  • http://www.myspace.com/bible_belt_atheist David Potter

    I think we should use the birthday of Charles Darwin.

    We could STILL keep the AD. It would just mean After Darwin,

    Now THAT should REALLY piss them off. :)

    ~ David

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      But it wouldn’t test anything. We wouldn’t learn noth’n.

  • http://www.poweressence.com/ Maxwell Jennings

    I can hear Bill O’riledup-reilly bitching about this already!

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    I’m still waiting for Y2k….oh its gonna happen.

    But seriously….I live in the South…Texas to be specific (surprised? lawl, jk) and it has always annoyed the crap out of me how ignorant retarded rednecks wear confederate flag hats and put up flags at their house. I also have alot of family in North and South Carolina….well in the North Carolina Tobacco fields around were my uncle lives (in the middle of no where) almost every single tobacco farmer has a confederate flag flying above their house.

    WHY?!?!? I don’t get it….apparently History 101 was non existent 30 years ago when they would have gone through school. They seem to have this false assumption of what the flags meaning is, like it stands for southern pride or something. We LOST people….the US won and the crappy retarded rebellion failed….rant completed.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Matt, this is a topic I think we can both actually agree on.

  • Pingback: Dangerous Talk » Welcome To The Year 236 AE

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    I agree, I have no problem with any atheist wanting to tone down their own actions to be able to work with religious types. What I object to is when they tell me I must also tone down my actions. Why should I? I don’t try to force them to behave in the same way that I do, so what right do they have to try to enforce their behaviour on me?

  • Ronlawhouston

    Hmm, where to start? First of all, by labeling them “accommodationalists” and vilifying them you are engaged in the same us versus them mentality that causes problems. Second, there is a vast difference between criticizing in the large marketplace of ideas and face to face criticism of an individual. You have a blog on a rising network. Feel free to use your soapbox to hurl as much criticism as you feel is necessary.

    I do have a problem with atheists that feel the need to convert others. Not content to leave others alone in the benign beliefs, the feel the need to lash out and attack. They are not very different from the Mormons or the Jehovah’s witnesses. They are out to convert. However, what makes them more obnoxious than the two groups I listed is the smugness and vitriol of their conversion attempts.

    I’m certainly not an “accommodationalist.” I simply anti-a$$hole.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      I didn’t label them “accommodationalists.” They have already been labeled that. I was using the label in a descriptive fashion.

      Second, I am out to educate people. If someone makes a claim that is incorrect, I have zero problem telling them so. I am not out there knocking on doors on Saturdays trying to de-convert people. But when they come to me and give me false information, I will correct them. I hope they will learn and de-convert, but I am not out at their doors. I don’t go down to churches and “preach” atheism. But when churches come to me, I will correct them and yes I will try to de-convert them. If they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t come to my door!

      If you are anti-asshole, then you should look in the mirror because right now you are being an asshole. I don’t mind, but that is the point of this post. to point out that those who claim to be anti-asshole have no problem being assholes to other atheists. You’re just anti-asshole where religious believers are concerned. Just say’n.

      • Ronlawhouston

        Let’s see, I make critical remarks and suddenly I’m an asshole? What, are atheists immune to criticism? Besides, you honestly don’t know how critical I am of religious people and made a big huge asshole assumption. Just say’n.

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          Critical remarks? You called me obnoxious, smug, vitriol, and implied that I was an asshole. Those aren’t critical remarks; they are insults. So again, if you are anti-asshole, look in the mirror because you were just acting like an asshole. Criticism is always welcome. Hell, I don’t even mind the character attacks, but I sure as hell am not going to let you pretend that you are anti-asshole when you are calling me names.

          • Ronlawhouston

            Well, apparently you have self assigned yourself to the group that feels the “need to convert others.” Try reading and comprehending that paragraph before you say I’m “calling” you names. Do I need to parse the language for you before I call you stupid?

            However, if you want to view that as a personal character attack, then apparently you have a very fragile and highly insecure ego. That probably explains why you’re simply the sort of insecure petulant child who feels the need to constantly correct others to prove how much you know and prove what a smart little fuck you really are.

            In the meantime continue, as MosesZD said, demonizing others. You may not be associated with PZ Myers, but you may as well have your lips firmly attached to his back side because you are both clearly cut from the same cloth.

            I’m beginning to think that Skeptic Inc needs to make sure their bloggers have an emotional intelligence over age 14.

            • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

              Oh please. You are the one name calling and demonizing here. Again, as I said in the post, I have no problem with atheists who take a less confrontational position, however, you are the one who claims that anyone who doesn’t agree with your less confrontational position is an asshole. That was you. And look at the personal attacks of your last comment, let alone your comment before that. I’m just saying you should do your thing without needing to call me an asshole ans other assorted names. I also take issue with your claims that I act like PZ Myers in demonizing others. You have yet to point out how I gave demonized anyone. All you seem to be able to do is hurl insults. Like I said before, I don;t really mind the insults, but the hypocrisy… that’s another story altogether.

              • Ronlawhouston

                OK – now I’m going to call you a direct name and finally level a personal attack. You’re stupid. Try going back and carefully reading paragraph 2 of my original comment. Did I ever use the word “you?” Now I know this is going to tax your very small brain but try to parse each sentence in that paragraph. Then tell me that I leveled a “personal attack” at you.

                I really don’t like to get into games like this with folks like you, but apparently your very fragile ego thought I was calling you an asshole and then proceeded to lash out. When I made the original comment I wasn’t referring to you individually; however, you’ve since made me reconsider.

                You are nothing more than the PZ Meyers, reddedit, type juvenile atheist that give so much ammunition to critics of atheism.

                I’m totally at a loss as to why this network gives you a voice.

                • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                  LOL. Now you are hiding behind semantics. You clearly waged a character attacks on a set of people. A set of people in which I happen to belong. Did you use the word, “you?” No, but you were referring to a set of people that includes me. So yes that is a character attack. in like you, I’m not going to call you stupid or any other names. I’m just going to call you out on your hypocrisy. You claim to be anti-asshole, clearly implying that those who are more vocal when confronted are assholes (a set of people I belong). So yes, you did imply that I as an asshole which is in itself an asshole thing to do. That of course was the whole point of my post and you illustrated it perfectly. Congratulations ;-)

                  What other names are you going to call me? The deeper you dig, the more you prove my point.

                  • Ronlawhouston

                    “No, but you were referring to a set of people that includes me.”

                    I had no idea when I made that comment that you’d choose to self include yourself into the group that I criticized. So, no, I didn’t make a personal attack on you. You simply applied my comment to yourself then got defensive and well the rest is history.

                    In the future, try taking a step back, read what people have to say, and then (the hard part) think a little bit before you respond.

                    In the meantime, you’ve lost one of the handful of readers that even give your pathetic little blog and your pathetic individual opinions any attention.

                    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                      Obviously you were not one of my readers. You didn’t even read the post you had commented on because if you had, it would have been pretty obvious that I fit your set since I stated it in the first paragraph of the post. Second, even if I didn’t fit that set, you were still acting in the very manner you were attacking others as acting. You said you were anti-asshole implying that people who disagreed with you were assholes, which in itself is an asshole thing to do. When I pointed that out, you started name calling and haven’t stopped. Third, as I said three times now, I don’t really care about the insults. But I guess you can’t step back and read what people have to say, let alone think a little bit before you respond. What I take issue with is the hypocrisy. That after all is what this whole post was about and you stepped into it and just stepped into it again in this last comment as I just pointed out by paraphrasing you. ;-)

      • Ronlawhouston

        Calling your readers “assholes” is certainly a novel way to grow a blog. I’m critical of certain atheist and suddenly I’m an asshole? What, are atheists immune to criticism? You have no idea how critical I am of others and make a very large, very asshole assumption. Just say’n.

  • MosesZD

    You understand that PZ Myers and a number of other athiests went out of their way to demonize and harass all these people just a few years ago, right? That they attempted, with their new-found popularity, to quote mine, distort and other wise strawman them into oblivion?

    You didn’t miss that did you? The months of brow-beating Phil Plait, Chris Mooney and Barbara Forrest, who have done more for promoting atheism and science than most of the butt-monkeys that follow the loud-mouths, right?

    This all coming from the “Gnu Atheists” not understanding the social dynamics of coalition politics. Or, if you’re ‘fighting Hitler,’ don’t fucking attack Russia (or even let them hang-out-to-dry) in WWII because you also don’t like communism/socialism.

    I’ve got no problem criticizing religion. I have no problem pointing out the evil in the Bible, the lies, the contradictions, that it’s a load of myth from front to back. In the marketplace of ideas, I have no problem with attacking ANY silly belief system (religion, CAM, radical feminism, much of the right wing, libertarianism, etc.).
    But I do have a problem with the demonization of others for the sake of demonization and power-politics. Especially of those who are working toward the same goal as the rest of us solely because they do the job differently or they don’t buy into your other pet ideologies.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      I have nothing to do with PZ Myers.