The following has been a topic of conversation that has come up several times with me, and my fellow atheist friends recently. The capitalization of God/god. Being an atheist of the angry variety, who is disgusted by all that is holy, I struggle with this decision frequently. Of course, capitalizing God makes me feel as if too much importance is being placed on this nonexistent, society ruining entity. BUT God is a proper noun. Proper nouns call for capitalization. Not only am I passionate about my atheism, I am also passionate about my correct use of spelling, grammar and general language (not that I always get it right –as I’m sure someone out there will find an error in this blog post, I’m sure- but at least I try). Mickey Mouse is not real, but we capitalize his name, right? Santa Claus? Superman? Tom Sawyer? Names of fictional literary characters are always capitalized. Therefore, I put aside my personal frustrations about religion and make use of that capital G.

Just wanted to throw that out there. Any thoughts? Is there an English professor in the house?

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Comment by Jude Johnson on February 11, 2009 at 1:46pm
You couldn't have stated my sentiments more precisely Zeeman. I'm a lover of proper grammar as well and had an early inner struggle with just this issue. It reminds me of a debate on Wikipedia once about "Solar System" -- should it be title case, or not? People seemed to divide on the issue evenly.

The same could probably be said for god, but with a twist. There is more than one solar system out there, so you might have an arguement for lower case, but there is only one solar system which is OUR Solar System. As for god: are there one? many? I say none and that's why I leave it lower case. If I used a capital "G", I would feel as if I were acknowledging that there is ONE god.

I think the reason why "God" is proper grammatically is because most people are dellusional. This is why my inner grammatical police allows me to use "god" in every instance. (Also, I have more respect for Santa Clause & Mickey Mouse!)
Comment by Chiropteran on January 17, 2009 at 12:37am
This may sound strange but I always use a lower case g because I don't acknowledge even a conceptual idea of a god. With Santa Claus and Superman etc., there is a culturally agreed upon beginning, middle and end to those imaginary concepts, in a way. Whereas, with (a) god I share no such agreement.
Okay, that makes sense in my head
Comment by Clarence Dember on January 16, 2009 at 8:36pm
I like the phrasing " sock puppet god". I'd capitalize my cat(s) names before I do it for this figmento dimento god.
I think your gramatical reasoning is sound though.
Comment by Buffy on January 16, 2009 at 3:29pm
Typically when I'm referring to the god of Judaism/Christianity I'll capitalize it primarily so it's clear which god I'm writing about. If I'm Otherwise I'll leave it lowercase, particularly if I want to stress to someone that their notion that "God" isn't the one and only deity ever fabricated by humanity, so he isn't the only one I lack belief in--I don't believe in any of them. I'll also use lowercase if I want to irritate someone or purposely display my condescension toward their version of "god" (usually with RRRW theocrats).
Comment by It's just Matt on January 16, 2009 at 3:25pm
Lately I type god(s) so capitalization isn't needed.



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