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  1. #1
    Brandon Kennedy is offline Newbie
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    Default When to capitalize god and why?

    Greetings I am involved in an online discussion forum about faith and atheism. This thread is NOT about religion just the proper use of grammar when discussing religion. We have been discussing proper grammar when referring to God or god as the case may be.

    It was my understanding that you capitalize god when you are referring to a monotheistic deity such as the god of Abraham but you do not capitalize god when referring to polytheistic deities such as Zeus or Krishna since they are gods (plural) and not God (singular). Is this interpretation correct? Can a learned professor please tell me why one capitalizes god when referring to a monotheistic deity? Is it out of respect or is it simply because God is a proper noun when it refers to a monotheistic deity? Does one still call the deity God (capitalized) even if he has another name like Yahweh, Jehova, or Allah? Would it be grammatically correct to say that the capitalization of God is correct even when God is used in the same sentence as this name, for example: "Allah is the one true God."

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    "God" stands in for the name of the monotheistic deity, hence it is capitalized. It is because it is a name that it is capitalized by even non-believers. Even if He has another name, like Yahweh.

    Even if a non-believer is using the concept of the monotheistic God, he should still capitalize it. Like "Christians believe Jesus is God."

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    Christians believe in God.
    Christians believe in a god.
    Christians believe there is only one god.

    Atheists do not believe in God.
    Atheists do not believe in any god.

  4. #4
    Brandon Kennedy is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    Thanks to both of you for your input. One more question. I see that you also capitalized "He," in the middle of a sentence. When does one capitalize He/She? I am assuming that this is not unique to a deity and is just a feature of the English language.

    Thanks so much.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Kennedy View Post
    Thanks to both of you for your input. One more question. I see that you also capitalized "He," in the middle of a sentence. When does one capitalize He/She? I am assuming that this is not unique to a deity and is just a feature of the English language.

    Thanks so much.
    I did so because the "he" I was referring to was God. Pronouns are capitalized this way by many believers, as a sign of respect.

    Not all believers do this, and non-believers do not do this.

    It is not a feature of the English language to capitalize pronouns as a rule.

  6. #6
    Brandon Kennedy is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I did so because the "he" I was referring to was God. Pronouns are capitalized this way by many believers, as a sign of respect.

    Not all believers do this, and non-believers do not do this.

    It is not a feature of the English language to capitalize pronouns as a rule.

    Thanks. Last question. God is a proper noun when referring to a monotheistic deity as if it were his name, correct? I know it's a silly question but some people out there claim that God is not a proper noun.

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    Yes, it's a proper noun.

  8. #8
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: When to capitalize god and why?

    It's a proper noun as long as that's how you're using it - to refer to the name of one specific god.

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