Jews all around the world just celebrated the Jewish New Year, “Rosh Hashanah” (literally, “the head of the year”). The celebration began at sundown on September 13 and ended at sundown on September 15.
What is particularly significant for our purposes is this: for Israel, it is now the year 5776, not 2015. Israel is most decidedly and publicly not living in the year 2015 but rather in the year 5776. Why? Very simple: Israel is a Jewish nation. Israel is living in the year 5776 because it is a Jewish nation and we are living in the year 2015 because we are a Christian one.
Israel dates all of its official documents according its calendar, not ours. All official institutions in the State of Israel assiduously avoid using the Anno Domini (“in the year of our Lord”) dating method, and instead substitute Anno Mundi (“In the year of the world”). So 2015 AD is not 2015 AD in Israel, it’s now the year 5776 AM.
The Israeli calendar is dated from the creation of the world, which according to Jewish reckoning occurred 5776 years ago. This, by the way, makes Israel a nation officially committed to a young earth view of origins. Who knew?
(By my calculations, using the genealogies found in Genesis 5 and 11, the universe was created in 4242 BC, thus making the world 6257 years old. But that’s a column for another day.)
You’ve got the same dynamic in Islamic countries. The Muslim calendar is not dated from the birth of Christ or the creation of Adam, but from the year in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina, the journey known as the Hijra. For Muslim nations, the system is Anno Hegirae (“in the year of the Hijra”). For them, the current year is 1437 AH. Why is this the year 1437 in Muslim lands and not the year 2015? Simple – they’re Muslim nations, not Christian ones.
Back in 2012, Muslim students at Trinity University in Texas complained about the phrase “In the year of our Lord” on their diplomas. In so doing they inadvertently and quite unintentionally proved that this is a Christian nation.
Trinity, whose name and motto (Latin: “E Tribus Unum”, English: “From three, one”) are both explicitly Christian, was accused by Muslim students of using a “bait and switch” tactic, nefariously tricking them them into enrolling and then springing this politically incorrect diploma on them without warning at the end of the educational process.
We must assume, of course, that these students could not get into Trinity without being able to read, making their accusation ludicrous. Evidence that they were not enrolling in an imam-led institution can be found in the presence of a chapel (not a mosque) on campus, a Bible on the school seal, and the presence of a Christian chaplain. Exactly what about that chain of evidence did these students not understand?
When they chose to attend a school with the name “Trinity,” a school founded by the Presbyterian church in 1869, they shouldn’t have been surprised to find that it is not a madrassa and that is uses an explicitly Christian system of dating.
And this is the problem for them. As graduating senior Sidra Qureshi said, “A diploma is a very personal item, and people want to proudly display it in their offices and homes. By having the phrase ‘In the year of Our Lord,’ it is directly referencing Jesus Christ, and not everyone believes in Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis mine)
Now Ms. Qureshi has put her finger squarely on a huge problem for secular fundamentalists. She correctly observes that the “Lord” in the phrase “In the year of Our Lord” is a specific reference to Jesus Christ.
This is precisely the dating formula used by the Founders in dating the Constitution of the United States of America. It too, just like the diploma Ms. Qureshi finds so politically incorrect and so multiculturally insensitive, is dated “in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” In the eyes of all Muslims, this makes the United States itself indelibly and inexcusably Christian.
And you will notice the Founders compounded the problem for Christophobes by identifying the year not just as the year of “the Lord,” but the year of “our Lord,” meaning that all 55 Framers went on record to declare collectively that Jesus Christ was their Lord and Master.
Proof that this dating formula was not just an afterthought but a conscious, deliberate decision comes from the fact that the Founders not only dated the Constitution from the year of Christ’s birth but also from the date on which we declared our independence. We declared our independence in July of 1776 AD, and the Constitution was approved by Congress in September of 1787.
The complete formula for dating the Constitution reads this way: “…done in Convention…in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.”
Thus the Founders dated the Constitution, the supreme legal document in American history, from two moments of vast historical significance: the birth of Jesus Christ and the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that, in the eyes of the Founders, these two dates were the most important dates in American history.
I’ve had some secular fundamentalists tell me that this doesn’t make the document or the nation Christian in any sense since the dating formula was simply customary. It’s what everybody did.
I respond by saying this makes the case even worse for them, since they are admitting that it was so common for the Founders to think of Jesus as Lord and his life as the turning point of all history that they had not a moment’s hesitation in putting his name in our foundational document, expressing their personal allegiance to him, and dating it from the year of his birth.
Every time you date a check, or pick up a newspaper, or check the calendar on your smartphone, you are bearing silent witness to the Christian origins of our country, as well as to the enormous impact of Jesus Christ on world history. The history of the world, in the eyes of the Founders, is literally divided into two eras: the era before the birth of Christ and the era after his light came into the world.
Bottom line: America is a Christian nation. Every calendar in the world proves it.