It seems the change from AD/BC to CE/BCE is taking root. It's been creeping up for a while and now the BBC has it, the proles will eventually change to using it.
They won't know what the letters stand for but they didn't all know what BC and AD stood for either. Yet if explained, it became clear.
BC - Before Christ. The years before the birth of Christ and everyone, even heathens like me, know what that means and can fix a point in time on that information. Whether Christ existed or not is immaterial - we all know what it means in terms of when something happened.
AD- Anno Domini. I always thought it was odd to have the BC meaning in English and the AD one in Latin. I mean, surely the Romans went out of favour with Christianity the moment they nailed the Messiah to a plank? It's not the sort of thing that endears you to a group. Anyway, it means 'In the year of our Lord' and even we heathens use it to fix a point in time.
This new one - Common Epoch and Before Common Epoch - what does that mean? How do you explain that to Bloke in the Pub? What's a common epoch and how does it differ from the rare epoch or the lesser spotted epoch - and what's an epoch anyway? A moustachioed politician who speaks of rivers of blood? No, that's an Enoch, a Biblical prophet and the name of the language of the Angels - Enochian. Hmm, this is going to cause some confusion with the Before Enoch and After Enoch crowd.
Oh sure, I could learn to relate the two. They are the same scale with different names but that, really, is the source of the confusion in my mind.
Talk of Celsius and Farenheit scales and I understand they are two different scales measuring the same thing and that one needs to be converted with a formula to arrive at the other. If we had Farenheit and then another, identical scale called the Wibbly Scale it would be baffling because they would be measuring the same thing in the same way. The two names are not necessary. The way my mind is ordered, that sort of thing can blow a fuse.
This change from BC/AD is likewise not necessary. Nobody has ever claimed to be offended by what we call the calendar and if we go with this, where does it end? The Islamic calendar is somewhere around the year 1400, the Chinese calendar works on a different length of year, the Hindu calendar is different again... it's simply not possible to please them all. Since none have asked, why try?
The only reason for doing something like this is to piss off the Church. I feel the cold, greasy hand of the Dawkinites sliding upwards towards places they have no business going - but back to the article.
I have no interest in the Church. I never visit, they don't call me, we leave each other alone and they have never allowed smoking inside as far as I know. No drinking either except for one measly sip of wine and someone else has hold of the cup and you're not allowed to take a straw. Not my kind of venue at all.
So why would I care? Well, even though I don't have any religion, I don't call myself atheist. I don't, because atheism has become a religion every bit as militant as any of the others and it's in the process of wrecking science. I am an apathist. There might or might not be a God. I don't care.
I might decide to piss off the Church one day, but it will not be because of any great purpose to bring my own version of reality to bear on impressionable minds. No, I will only do it to sell books. The first I heard of Harry Potter was when the Bible Belt fanatics burned a big pile of books. Witchcraft, they said. Ha! I have genuinely-researched demons in my books and they usually win. That should get them going. It's okay if they burn them as long as they paid for them and in fact, it's the best sale you could get. They buy it and burn it so it doesn't end up in any second-hand shop. Excellent. Free box of matches and a bag of kindling with every order for a hundred or more.
But I digress. Christianity is, like lava bread, black pudding and haggis, part of the history of this country. Sure, to me it has less importance than those wonderfully bizarre foods but it's still part of the culture and part of my upbringing. From those school assemblies with their Bible readings, the free Bibles given out at school (I bet that's not allowed now), my grandmother with her blue hair and permanent fury apart from an hour or so on a Sunday, right up to calling the years BC or AD. It's part of my personal history, part of my existence and every bit of that that gets chipped away makes me a little bit less real. I don't care about the existence of God. I'm starting to wonder about the existence of me.
There was a story recently about someone getting police attention for distributing CDs containing Bible Gospels. Why? I have a copy of Bhagavad-Gita here, given to me by a street guy in an orange dress. Offended? How can I be offended by a free book? I love getting free books. I get free CDs in the post, most of which are advertising some land-buying scam. Offended? They make great coasters. They can also be hung on strings in the garden if you want to scare birds off your food crops. How can anyone be offended by something that's free? It costs nothing by definition. If you can't find any use for it,.bin it. If thine CD offend thee, chuck it out. That's in the Bible, I think.
It's easy to offend people now. So easy it's hardly worth bothering most days. Political correctness has taken all the fun out of life. Why put all that effort into getting to the top of a fence so I can lean over Plastic Man's garden and ask his wife if she wants to suck my plums (a huge crop this year) when all you have to do is play Bible DVDs with the sound turned off?
Really. In Blackpool. On private premises. He can't allow smoking in there whether he wants to or not but a silent showing of the best-selling book in the world (I'm on your tail, God) offended some weak-willed revolting little toad and they called the police.
The police threatened this man with arrest. Why? because someone who had to look at the screen to be offended was offended. They didn't even have to go to another cafe. There was no sound. All they had to do was sit with their back to the screen. Or even, simply not look at it. It's not hard. Just point your eyes in a different direction.
I don't agree with everything in the Bible. I don't agree with anything at all in Mein Kampf or Das Kapital but if I was in a cafe where they were showing a silent rendition on a screen, I just wouldn't look. Then I wouldn't be offended. It's really easy and saves a lot of blood pressure and wasted police time.
Anyway, I wouldn't be in the cafe. I'd be at the outside tables, smoking. Play Lolita in there if you like, I won't see it.
It's a good thing we don't have lions or we'd be throwing Christians to them by now. We are extracting the basis of British society in chunks here and whether you personally want those bits thrown out or not, consider what happens when you erase all your personal history. You cease to exist.
Still, I wonder if Lord Longleat had a long-term plan. I wish I'd bought shares.