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Featured "God" with lowercase: A big deal?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by David Neos, Nov 21, 2019.

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  1. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    I was going to post in TAW but since this is something that involved my Evangelical mom, I better ask here. Also, though the issue was in Spanish (with God being Dios), I think it might be the same in English:

    My mom was checking her Christian page in FB and there was a post that we should put God in uppercase because "god" means fake gods so she wrote down that "God" nor "god" really matters but having a relationship with God and that issue was just being "fanatic".

    Then there were passive-aggressive responses from both sides.

    What's your opinion?
     
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  2. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    My opinion is that passive-aggressive responses are uncalled for and childish, no matter which side they come from.
     
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  3. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Well, 'fanatic' is a provocative word often. It can seem to judge someone, if used to label their view. If it was totally clear the person using little 'g' god means the one true God -- it it was clear from their writing -- then I'd not worry even a millisecond about their capitalization.

    e.e. cummings liked to write everything in lowercase
     
  4. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    Probably, but I have been guilty of that too.
     
  5. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    god with a lower case is satan, the god of this world. At least he was the god of this world. We are entering into the Kingdom age when we will rule and reign with Christ for 1,000 years and the kingdom will never be taken away from Him. We will still rule and reign with Christ when there is a New Heaven and a New Earth. Those of us that pass the test now and are qualified. Now we are sons and daughters of God. During the Kingdom age we will become the Manifest Son's (& Daughters) of God. God will manifest Himself in us. "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the Manifestation of the Sons of God". (Romans 8:19) Son's meaning birth right as we are joint heirs with Christ. Some translations use the word: "revealed".

    "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
     
  6. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    opinion ?

    In the original, as others have pointed out, there were no capital letters.

    sometimes in english i posted with no capital letters, orevenwithnospaces, liketheoriginal

    andpeopledontlikeit
     
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  7. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Messianic Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    We all have been, at times. :)

    But to the question at hand, I think it is more of a question of linguistics. God or god could be OK, depending on the context. If we are speaking about "God" as in using the word as the name, then it should be capitalized. We would capitalize Ra when speaking of that god as it is his name, so the same would stand for our god, God. That could be extended to saying that we should capitalize it out of respect for the entity....but that also might be a ethnocentric way of looking at this. What of languages that do not have capital letters? They do not worry about this, so I feel it is not a must do for the religion....but for our language it is correct to capialize the letter when speaking about the name of "God".
     
  8. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    David, The issue and the importance of how we relate to the Creator is real. You are right about that.

    BUT

    when it comes to the terminology... "God" does refer to the one true deity, the one who is affirmed by the Christian speaker, whereas "gods" or even "a god" refers generally to any deity believed in by pagans, and also when someone is referring very generally about the concept of a higher power, or in the case of someone speaking hypothetically. The Christian shouldn't refer to the god of the Bible as "god," therefore, but as "God." :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I would say that it is appropriate for Christians to capitalize "God" since they are referring to the one, unique God. Yet a difficulty arises when we consider that different groups may use this same word to signify a different thing. The Christian usage is a consequence of the Christianized West.

    The early Christians, in their polytheistic culture, used the term "the god" (ho theos) in a somewhat polemical way, and there is some similarity between that and referring simply to 'God'.

    In our secularized age "God" is probably a vague name for "the creator."

    Merriam-Webster's distinctions are probably sound (link).
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  10. civilwarbuff

    civilwarbuff Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Go back to grammar school and remember: Proper Nouns that refer to a person or place are always capitalized. When writing you don't write roy rogers, minneapolis, or dr. kildare.
     
  11. ChristianGirl_96

    ChristianGirl_96 Active Member

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    Who cares?
     
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  12. public hermit

    public hermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My opinion: "God" is not a proper name, so it is not capitalized for that reason. I would say we capitalize the word "God" to distinguish true divinity from other so called "gods."

    I agree with your mother. It's a tempest in a teacup. What matters isn't whether or not one capitalizes an ontological designator, but whether or not one is abiding in Christ, and Christ in them.
     
  13. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    In the original texts of scripture, when they were written, neither OT Hebrew or NT Greek had upper and lower case letters. All were the same case.

    IOW: it really does not matter.
     
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  14. NBB

    NBB Well-Known Member

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    I guess you could write always God out of respect etc, because we put uppercase in names, but its just grammar, you are really don't doing anything wrong writing it god.
     
  15. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    In Spanish "Dios" is usually capitalise too.
     
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  16. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    My mom respects God a lot, I guess she doesn't care about capitalization since she usually does not do it.
     
  17. charsan

    charsan Charismatic Episcopal Church

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    My opinion and mine alone is that I always capitalize God because it is proper noun
     
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  18. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    This isn't a valid argument. They are different languages with different grammatical structures. Translators have to take into account the role of capitalization in English because it does matter.
     
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  19. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Messianic Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    So there are two questions at play:

    Linguistically for English it does matter.

    Theologically it does not, unless we take the English language into context.
     
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  20. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    In addition to the point about capital and lower case letters that others have made, there is perhaps one more consideration. With the caveat that I do not know Hebrew, I do know Arabic (a related Semitic language), and in Arabic as well as Coptic (which is not Semitic, but is a member of the broader Afro-Asiatic family) it is possible to make this distinction between "God" (the one God) and "god" (the gods of the nations/pagans/non-believers) even without a capital/lowercase distinction (Coptic only adopted this distinction late, and Arabic does not have it at all). In Arabic we use Allah for the one God (yes, Arabic-speaking Christians and also Arabic-speaking Jews use this word; it's not the property of Muslims, even if some of them may act like it is), whereas the gods of the nations (false gods) would be called al-ilah (plural al-aliha), because ilah is kind of like a generic term ('lower case' god, which could refer to any god). Because Allah cannot be possessed since it is already definite (just like how in English you cannot say "my the God"), to say things like "Oh my God", you use ilah -- ya ilahi! (that -i ending marks it as possessive: bayt 'house', bayti 'my house', ism 'name', ismi 'my name', etc.)

    Coptic is similar (efnouti is 'upper case' God, while 'lower case' god is ninouti...the base form is just nouti, but you almost never find Coptic nouns without some definite article, due to how the language builds words and phrases), and it would not surprise me if there was something similar going on in Hebrew and/or Aramaic. (I don't actually know about Syriac...I feel like I should look that up, but I'm not sure where. Haha. The only forms I know in Syriac are Aloho/Alaha, which are the same, just in two different pronunciations/geopolitical dialects.)

    Can someone here who knows Hebrew or Aramaic grammar shed some light on this? Now I'm curious
     
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