Monday, June 24, 2013

Different Religions Use Different Calendars

In Olympia, we have four major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Olympianity. Each of these religions has its own calendar. That’s because each religion has its own beliefs, values, and norms and these determine how best to understand time.

Calendars: Jewish. The Jewish calendar counts years from the beginning of creation. According to ancient and medieval Jewish scholars, creation occurred, using the Christian calendar, in 3761 BC. So the year 2012, prior to the Jewish New Year in September, is the year 5772 (3760 + 2012) according to the Jewish calendar. The important point is that the Jewish calendar starts counting years from the creation of the world.

Christian. The Christian calendar does not do this. It splits the reckoning of years in relation to the birth of Christ. Years before that event are reckoned BC (“Before Christ”) while those after it are reckoned AD (Latin, Anno Domini or “Year of Our Lord”). So we live in AD 2013.

Islamic. The Islamic calendar, like its Christian counterpart, splits history into two periods. It, however, reckons all events in relation to the move of Muhammad, its founder, and his followers from Mecca to Medina. That move is referred to in Arabic as the Hijra. The years after the Hijra are reckoned AH (Latin, Anno Hegirae or “Year of the Hijra”). The Hijra occurred, according to the Christian calendar, in AD 622. But the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Each year is either 354 or 355 days in length. So AD 2012 turns out, on the Islamic calendar, to be 1433 AH.

Olympianity, our now dominant religion, has modified the use of the Christian calendar. The Christian calendar intentionally reckoned events as occurring either BC, “Before Christ,” or AD, “in the Year of the Lord.” Olympians understandably sought to eliminate this explicit reference to Jesus. So they substituted BCE, “Before the Common Era,” for BC and CE, “Common Era,” for AD.

Olympianity, our now dominant religion, also modified the use of the Christian calendar in another way. While the Christian calendar did reckon events in relation to the birth of Jesus, it also reckoned the creation of the world as occurring around 4000 BC. On the basis of strictly empirical data, Olympians determined that the universe started perhaps 15 billion years ago with a big band, that our earth formed about 5 billion years ago, and that human beings as we know them evolved perhaps 200,000 years ago. They then used this empirical data to thoroughly discredit the biblical basis of the Christian calendar. They did this so well that even Christian teachers use BCE/CE, rather than BC/AD, when teaching about biblical events occurring before or after the birth of Jesus.

My primary purpose in this blog is to clarify how we might live as more radiant witnesses to Jesus. To do that, we will be exploring, celebrating (when appropriate), but always learning from the history of Olympia. The most relevant period of time, for our purposes, is the last 6,000 years. I agree that, on the basis of empirical evidence, our universe, solar system, and species are much older than the biblical narrative would suggest. The empirical evidence, however, fails to say anything about its relationship with God its creator. The Bible, however, has much to reveal about God and the relationship of creation to its creator. For that reason, we will be setting the cosmic, geological, and evolutionary insights of the Olympian worldview gently to one side.

Instead, in our retelling of the history of Olympia, we will begin that history with the biblical story of creation in 4000 BC. We will work forward to our day from there, dividing history into periods according to the emergence of significant new religious movements. In this way we will stay close to the practice, though not the exact date, of the Jewish calendar. In this retelling, we have the following historical periods: the Age of Olympianity (4000-1925 BC), the Age of Judaism (1925 BC-AD 70), the Age of Christianity (AD 70-622), the Age of Islam (622-1648), the Age of Exuberant Olympianity (1648-2008), and our own troubled period (2008-present).

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.