Comment by Jim Minion on May 3, 2012 at 10:43am

In our culture Yahweh or Jehovah are two name for the gods worshiped, we have Hindus, Muslims, and countless others worshiped in the US.

When i say "I see no proof for god" It includes then all. Xians get no special place on the list.

Comment by Matt G on May 3, 2012 at 10:46am

Yahweh, capital, god, not.  But it doesn't particularly bother me.  But if 'Dad' is capitalised, it is fair that 'god' is too, I just can't be arsed.

Comment by Matt G on May 3, 2012 at 10:55am


When i say "I see no proof for god" It includes then all. Xians get no special place on the list."

But if we are sticking to accuracy, you should say 'I see no need for any god', then lower case is grammatically correct.  Otherwise it sounds like you are addressing a specific god.

Comment by Unseen on May 3, 2012 at 11:00am

@Jim Minion  "When i say "I see no proof for god" It includes then all."

Unfortunately, in the U.S., where mindreaders are rare, you won't be understood as you intend. It will seem like an ungrammatically lower-cased reference to the god Yahweh by the majority who read or hear you.

Comment by Atheist Exile on May 3, 2012 at 11:05am


I agree with you. As for myself, I didn't even consider religious or anti-religious concerns. Just grammar.

In general, my goal is to promote critical thinking as opposed to proselytizing for atheism. I believe critical thinking will lead to atheism on its own. I consider it the main benefit of the atheist mindset and the most attractive element of atheism. It's easier to attract flies with honey than with vinegar, and it's easier to attract believers with persuasion than with hostility. Until I give up on an individual believer, I'm mostly motivated to persuade. But my patience isn't great enough to coddle them for too long. Out of all the discussions I've had with believers, I've only had one believer open-minded and earnest enough to actually concede his faith was a mistake. That's not a very good ratio. But, to me, that doesn't mean I should forgo persuasion and jump immediately to hostility. My more patient arguments might have a lingering or delayed or incremental effect. But hostile arguments simply forces believers to zone out or shut down.

A believer will notice a small g god in an online discussion. This isn't helpful for my purposes. I'll stick with the big G God. Besides, it's grammatically correct.

There's also a lot of baggage behind why I capitalize God. It's the most prominent name in human history. To me, God is a meme that constantly defies me to ignore it. He is too grand an idea to be saddled by religions. The creator of the universe deserves his name capitalized the same as Zeus or Pluto or Athena. To me, there is no God but the one we've created and we created him on a grandiose scale. We didn't create a little g god. We created a big G God.

Comment by Unseen on May 3, 2012 at 11:18am

I'm with you. Give people the tools to think and they will let the facts (or lack of facts) be their guide. Getting testy over capitalizing or not capitalizing "God" will just annoy the believers into their mental foxholes.

Comment by Jim Minion on May 3, 2012 at 11:48am

Unseen The other side of that argument is, by not capitalizing they will bring up that point and I can explain my position. The fact they don't like means little, the fact we have the conversation, may no matter how doubtful, get them to see the point.

The fact we can use grammar to bring up the conversation is the point no matter if it is correct or not.

Comment by kris feenstra on May 3, 2012 at 11:49am

In the interest of separation of church and state, I feel that theists have no right to install their theology in any public institution and that includes my language...

They haven't.  Whether you personally capitalize the word or not does not in any way change the fact that they are using it as a proper noun.  It's not like capitalization is the only grammatical indicator.  Lack of an accompanying article, possessive, or pronoun will also indicate a proper noun depending on context.  If certain theists want to call their god 'God', it is their prerogative, just as I can call my cat 'Cat'.  Heck, I can call my cat 'God' as well.

Obviously you can do what you like, but the exceptional behaviour in this case is yours.  The imposition on language is yours.  Those that capitalize are well within established conventions.

Comment by Atheist Exile on May 3, 2012 at 11:51am

@Jim Minion,

I foresee Unseen having a field day with that one!

Comment by Atheist Exile on May 3, 2012 at 11:59am

@Kris Feenstra,

For Christians, God is God's name. You capitalize names. I, personally, am certain that no personal, revealed, Abrahamic, theistic, God exists, And I am almost as certain that no impersonal, cosmic, God exists. But when I do refer to God, it's almost always one or the other. I am calling him by name -- the same as if I were invoking Zeus or Krishna -- NOT referring to some generic or non-specific god.

The God of Abraham has many names. Yahweh, Jesus, Allah. But the most commonly cited name of all is God.

Aside from these facts, English grammar requires capitalizing names. Don't try to pretend that small g god is proper English grammar. That's pure bunk.


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