To Capitalize God or Not?

Should Atheists capitalize the word ‘God’ if it is used to refer to the single god of the Bible?  If you’ve read any of my blog posts you’ll see that I capitalize it if I’m referring to the god of the Bible.  Should I?  I don’t know.  Should you capitalize something that doesn’t exist?  To be frank, I capitalize the word to make sure there’s no confusion on the meaning of my use of the word god.  If I’m referring to many gods or a god in general, I don’t capitalize it.  I only capitalize it when using it to refer to the god of the Bible.

Part of me wishes I had never capitalized the word when I started this blog, but to change this I’d have to go through every post which I am simply not doing.  I’m blabbing now, so let me know your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “To Capitalize God or Not?

  1. I’ve gone back and forth, but now it feels very comfortable to stop the capitalization. Language is always important, and the refusal to accept patent nonsense is liberating, with the non-capitalization a clear way to express this.
    I certainly argued the reverse a few years back, but there’s nothing wrong with seeing the light.

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  2. I don’t think the question is whether or not God exists, but rather whether or not we should talk about Him as if she were a known entity. We capitalize the names of fictional characters as well, so that’s not an issue, but by accepting the notion that God is an established personality in the context of abstract discussions about a possible god we may give too much to the Judeo-Christian camps on that topic. Perhaps we ought to capitalize as you suggest when the context points directly to that tradition, but deny the deictic reference altogether whenever there is no clear reason to accept the particular identity of God. That latter part is hard. It’s often just easier to fall into that mode of talking about the issue.

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  3. I avoid capitalizing it just for the pleasure of not capitalizing it, you know? Yes, what I said isn’t exactly interesting, or food for thought, but that’s basically my only reason.

    Best wishes, hopefully you will decide soon what’s best for you to do.

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  4. I tend to not capitalize it for the sake of awareness. I live in what is essentially a Christian country, and not capitalizing it forces others to remind themselves that there are more gods than just their so-named God. I think it’s easy to forget that when you live in a country that caters to your religious whims and where you are surrounded with it everyday. And, I admit, it kind of hurts to capitalize because the act of capitalization in some way implies that thing is important or noteworthy to you. I don’t like feeling that association and I don’t like the thought that others might think that of me.

    Otherwise I don’t think it’s a problem to capitalize it because he is a character in a story. I have no problem capitalizing the names of the Roman and Greek pantheon, or Jahweh, or Allah. As my limited understanding goes, I think Jahweh and Allah also mean “god” in their respective languages, so it’s the same thing as capitalizing God. The reason capitalizing God hurts when you live in a Christian country is because it isn’t far away and benign like Roman and Greek mythology has begun. We are living under the yoke of Christianity, so not capitalizing it becomes an act of rebellion. We might be the bigger people to continue capitalizing it even as we disagree with the concept, though.

    I will not capitalize “he” when referring to him, though. In my opinion that is done totally out of a sign of respect and is not appropriate for me to do when I don’t believe in his actual existence. I respect that the concept of him exists in the minds of many people and help them, like love. But I do not capitalize the pronoun for love (“Trust in Love for It will save you”). I can think of nothing in my life that I would capitalize the pronoun for, least of all the theory of a being that I do not find there is sufficient evidence for.

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  5. Like you said yourself, I also capitalize God’s name only when I am speaking about him in particular to avoid confusion. However I will not capitalize the ‘h’ when referring to him as ‘he’ like some theists do. For example. they might say ‘God and His Glory’ whereas I would say ‘God and his ‘glory’.

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  6. I sometimes don’t capitalize just to piss of someone.
    When referring to a specific deity it is to be capitalized since it is a proper noun. Just grammar reason.

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