Re: #1 On my list of pet peeves for 1999!

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 05 Jan 1999 15:53:56 -0500

Mike Linksvayer wrote:

> Scott Badger wrote:
> > Could somone please explain to me how it is that the christians decided to
> > base the calendar around the birth of christ and then the whole world and
> > all the other religions ended up saying, "OK, that sounds good to us. . .
> > we'll just go by your arbitrary decision." What a persuasive group the
> > christians must have been! Does anyone know when the use of the current
> > calendar went into effect?
> Christian nuts more or less conquered most of the other religious
> nuts over the last ~500 (christian) years. The islamic calendar
> is still used as the official calendar by some muslim states, and
> at least the islamic and chinese calendars are widely used for
> unofficial purposes throughout the world. I recall reading that
> before a calendar reform was instituted in India shortly after
> independence there were a few dozen calendars being used there.

Actually, the christian calendar was adopted as the standard calendar for scheduling air travel worldwide after WWII (just as English is the standard language for air traffic controllers and pilots, and almost all daily clocks are more or less oriented on Greenwich mean time). Prior to that, it had gained quite a bit of dominance thanks to the wonderfully benevolent help :) of empires like the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Russian Empire, and, to a lesser extent, the German, French, Dutch, and Italian empires.

While it may be fashionable to blame the US for all of this cultural imperialism, most of it was already underway for a long time with the British and others. We just picked up the pieces and moved on when the last, Brittania, busted....

Mike Lorrey