year 2000 debate 
Author Message
 year 2000 debate
Is  it  definitely  going  to  be  the  year  2000?
Why  is  thier  so  much  hype  about  the  whole  event? do  any
historians  know  of  any  events  that  were  significant  of  the  year
1000? Year 2000  to  me  is  just  a  cultural  construct  getting  out  of
any comments?

Tue, 13 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 year 2000 debate
Interesting question Andrew.

There are several aspects to the Year 2000 issue.

According to physicists time is a relationship between mass and acceleration
i.e. it is not an absolute but a relative quantity. We all know the story
about going into a space ship and travelling at near light speed for a year,
then returning to earth to find all our family and friends long dead. We
were accelerated to near light-speed but they stayed at the speed of the
revolving earth. We experienced time one way, they another. There is no
absolute "2000 years", just a relative "2000 years" depending on where you
are in the universe and what the local conditions happen to be. This being
so, when you ask "have exactly 2000 years passed since Christ?" The answer
is yes but the question is "where in the universe have exactly 2000 years
passed since Christ i.e. which mass at which acceleration has experienced
exactly 2000 years since Christ?" You then ask yourself do you really care.
Surely, if there is any meaning to the Year 2000 it is not this question of

You might argue that Year 2000 is a matter of history, i.e. social not
physical time. This is a good point. Of course, this raises questions about
the calendar. We know that calendars have been constantly adjusted and
modified over the centuries. Amongst Christians there are at least two
calendars -- the Gregorian (still used by the Eastern Churches) and the
Julian (used since the C16th-ish by the Western Churches, and thus by the
secular Western world). This is why the two Churches seem to celebrate
Easter on different days. In fact according to their sacred calendars they
celebrate them on the same day i.e. Easter Sunday but this day falls about
14 days apart according to the two different calendars. At a religious level
the day is the same, at a secular level the day is different. Do we measure
the Year 2000 according to the Gregorian or Julian calendar, or according to
some other calendar? The choice of calendar depends on which authorities you
accept and respect. The Christian religious calendars do not have concensus
on the date, they do not have concensus on the Year 2000. This is no big
deal for the Christian communities because while dates like the celebration
of Easter matter, and our calendar fixes this for us, things like the Year
2000 have no deep religious significance for us.

For example, as a Christian I am aware of the symbolic value of certain
numbers e.g. one for the unity of God, three for the persons in the Trinity,
seven for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, twelve for the Apostles and Tribes
of Israel, forty for the years Israel spent in the Desert and days Christ
spent in the Desert etc. So far as I know, there is no religious
significance to Christians in the number 1000 or its multiples as derived
from Biblical tradition. However, there has been a tradition in mystical
theology which associates the millenium with particular Ages. For example,
time is associated with the Holy Trinity. The thousand years before Christ
was associated with the Father or First Person of the Trinity. The thousand
years to 1000 A.D. where associated with Christ or the Second Person of the
Trinty. The following thousand years were associated with the Holy Spirit.
This was why we had mendicant mystics causing upheavals in Medieval
Europe -- they thought they were in the middle of a golden ageof the Holy
Spirit.The end of this third age was supposed to be the moment at which
Christ would return to judge the world. Thus for some mystics (having no
official authority in the Churches but influential with their disciples and
others) the Year 2000 is the moment at which Christ will return. Of course,
in the Bible it says no one can know when Christ wil return and we should
ignore self-appointed prophets who claim they do. The mystics/prophets are
not all consistent either since some date the three ages as beginning with
Christ and thus see 2000 as the beginning of the age of the Holy Spirit not
the end. So, the Year 2000 has a yes/no/maybe significance to some
Christians but not to all. Just like e.g. Lourdes matters to some people but
not to all, not even to all Roman Catholics.  Why the number 1000 was
thought so significant I cannot say but I suspect it comes from pagan
thinking (and it's ideas about Ages) and not from Christian tradition.

But we have this Year 2000 band-wagon hyping up the big event. Is it just a
secular effort to cash-in on Christian life, like the way the commercial
interests have cashed in on Christmas? Nope. I think there are various
interests at work here. There is hype and religious hysteria but there is
also an attitude that for all its disadvantages and confusions this could be
an opportunity for Christians to celebrate their heritage, repent their
sins, return closer to God. Year 2000 has no value to Christians as such,
but it has a potential value if it helps people become better Christians,
better people. Celebrating the New Year will not make anyone a better person
but preparing oneself to celebrate it with prayer and repentance just might.
This is why the Christian Churches have made a thing about the Millenium --
we also do this pretty often by having events like pilgrimages, Holy Years
(every twelve years) and so on. This means the Millenium is not such a big
deal or so unusual for Christians as it might be for secular society which
has fewer opportunities for these big celebrations/stock-taking events.

>Is  it  definitely  going  to  be  the  year  2000?
>Why  is  thier  so  much  hype  about  the  whole  event? do  any
>historians  know  of  any  events  that  were  significant  of  the  year
>1000? Year 2000  to  me  is  just  a  cultural  construct  getting  out  of
>any comments?

Thu, 15 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 2 post ] 

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