From: "Alan Dechert" 
To: <>
Subject: Calling all Heretics RE: the new secular chronology
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 08:00:03 -0800

Dear Darwin:

I like your web site.  I find your faithlessness inspiring.  One problem:
when you write the year as "2002," you are accepting a chronology that puts
"Jesus Christ" at the center point of human history.  We can do better.

We are calling on reputable heretics around the globe to join this fine
secular cause: the establishment of a new secular chronology.

About six years ago, I founded a "little movement."  Today it's still a
little movement but there are indications that it could grow large.

We continue to hear of more usage and acceptance of this chronology.  A
recent Associated Press article is a good example.  We're talking about a
full page graphic that appeared in many newspapers around the world on
1/1/2.  It's a virtual declaration of the new era (we call it the Global
Era, they said "fresh chapter in time").  The article can be found here:

The wording is very precise and calculated. It says that this is Year One of
a "fresh chapter in time."

There is a big Year One, under which we have:

     "Purists argued that the new millennium began in 2001,
     though most of the world chose the year before to
     celebrate a fresh chapter in time."

It doesn't say most people celebrated the wrong year: it says most people
chose to celebrate a fresh chapter in time on 01/01/00.  If this is Year One
of the fresh chapter in time, then the previous year must have been Year

I spoke with the author of that article (he knew of our campaign).  Clearly,
he got it right and, of course, it's consistent with what we have been
saying for some years now: we have a new millennium and a new era -- it's
time to reset the year numbering such that 2000 = Year Zero.  If widely
accepted, it would give the civil calendar a clean break from the Christian
calendar -- something that "C.E." could never accomplish (C.E. was an
attempt to remove the label but not the substance).

The AP article uses the "when the millennium begins" issue as a wedge, just
as we did with our original proposal six years ago.  Then there is an image
of the earth surrounded by many facts illustrating that the era we are now
in is far different from anything seen before with many new possibilities
and challenges -- both encouraging and discouraging.  This has also been a
main part of our proposal all along: we are in a different era.  Why not
acknowledge this fact with a new chronology?

Our movement has grown over the past two years without much intervention
from its founders.  We think it will continue to grow and eventually take
hold, with or without further assistance from us.  If we're right about
that, why should you do anything to help move this project forward?

Societies have become more secular -- especially over the past 200 years.
However, as we all know, there are still problem spots where the religious
fanatics foil progress.  For example, there are those that would gladly
reduce the world to a battleground between the Islamists and the Christian
Reconstructionists.  Secularization is a process.  It is incomplete but it
must continue.  The sooner the better.

The establishment of a secular chronology may or may not be *the* answer but
it can certainly be part of the answer.  The fact that we all go by *their*
calendar is an important part of Christian Triumphalism.  We believe that
removing "the year of our lord" from the civil calendar will help the
secularization process.

There are four main things we are asking right now:

1. Reciprocal Link
If you add a link to Go2Zero on your web site, we'll reciprocate.  You'll
find many links on our links page ( ).
They could be categorized as follows: warnings (mostly from Christian
commentators), exhortations ("Hey look at this!" with or without comments
characterizing Go2Zero for readers), matter-of-fact directories on
millennial matters, and outright supporters.  Supporters or not, they all
help spread the idea.

2. Sign our Page
Our sign-up page on the Internet was off-line for more than two years.  I
recently repaired the script (computer code) so that we are again ready to
receive signers.

3. Make a Pledge in Support of Our Survey
This project is explained under the "Organizing Efforts" topic on our web
site.  Here is the direct URL.

4. Use It, Talk About It
Write "Year Two" on correspondence, forms, checks, etc.  whenever practical.
"Tell a Friend."

The Christian Response
Some predicted that Christians would strongly oppose the idea (thus foiling
our effort).  This has not been the case.  The Christian response to our
proposal has been very interesting.  The Christian Right has expressed
alarm, but more moderate and educated Christians seem to have no real

Here is an article that was in WORLD magazine a few years ago, followed by
two derivative articles by Joseph Farah.  Despite the sarcastic tone, these
authors acknowledge that there is a logic to it and hint that it might
happen (Farah said, "Is the notion really that far-fetched?").

The Christian Right knows they can do nothing to stop our campaign.  These
"warnings" actually increased the popularity of our campaign and they know

The Christian Science Monitor was more neutral (our campaign is discussed in
the last few paragraphs of this article):

The spade work and planting has been done.  The new chronology is easy to
use and it will be cheap to implement (in case you're wondering, it has
nothing to do with computers--most computer systems are already Year Zero
compatible, able to display dates with 2-digit years).  We need your support
so this can be accomplished soon to maximize the benefits of a more secular

Join our "little movement" today!  It *can* be done.  We can show where
people with initial negative reactions turned around to favor the campaign
once they understood more about it. You will be in good company, including
prominent scholars such as Olov Ostberg, Paul Kurtz, and Richard Landes.
Other authors backing the idea include novelist James Morrow.  Visit to get a better idea of who we are.

--Alan Dechert