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CE (Common Era or Christian Era) is a designation for the current chronological era, starting with year 1 CE. It is equivalent to the AD (Anno Domini, lat. In the year of our lord.) notation, but is less religion-specific.

The years before year 1 CE are noted BCE (before Common/Christian Era), similar to BC (before Christ).

Problems with the AD/BC notation

The most important problem with the AD notation is that biblical scholars agree on Jesus Christ's birth date being earlier than AD 1, with most placing it somewhere around 4 to 6 BC. That basically means that the fact on which the calendar system is based was actually incorrect. The CE notation, on the other hand, doesn't specify the basis at all, being more neutral in that matter.

The other problem is that the terms "AD" and "BC" are based on a specific religion, imply that the user is Christian and cause problems for non-Christians.

  1. With "AD" as "Anno Domini", (literally "In the year of our lord) non-Christians don't always like giving the impression that they think Jesus is lord.
  2. With "BC" as "before Christ" (literally "before the savior"), non-Christians don't always like giving the impression that they think Jesus is the savior.

Why it matters

Every time you use BCE and CE instead of BC and AD, you are refusing to submit yourself and your writings to an archaic and mistaken Christian agenda that is all about asserting dominion over culture, politics, society, and even your very thought processes. Sometimes it is the little things, however, that keep resistance the search for truth alive and active. Domination is frequently founded on little things that people take for granted and/or don't feel are individually worth the trouble of fighting. Collectively, though, the amount to quite a lot and make domination far easier. When we learn to question the little things and resist taking them for granted, it becomes easier to question the big things as well, thus making resistance to understanding the entire superstructure easier. [1]

References

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