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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Atheists and Their Use of the Word “God”

Have you ever noticed how so many atheists refer to God as god. The big G is intentionally changed to a little g. Why? Because in doing so, god becomes more like a unicorn or fairy. There is nothing remarkable about a god. A god is just one more thing in our reality. A curious thing, yes, but just another thing. In fact, many atheists go even further and speaks of “the gods” instead of God. A group of gods becomes even more unremarkable. [Years ago, an Evangelical zealot argued that my capitalization of words such as God and Bible proved I wasn’t an atheist.]

— Michael, Shadow to Light, How to Spot a Where’s Waldo Atheist, March 3, 2020

11 Comments

  1. Avatar
    chuckjohnson43

    I use big G for God.
    I even believe that God exists.
    But as a fictional character and as a human invention.
    First, our natural universe invented humans.
    Then, humans invented God and lots of other gods.
    And leprechauns, ghosts, etc.
    Humans are quite inventive.

      • Avatar
        chuckjohnson43

        No need to change.
        It’s appropriate.
        As are capitals for Tom Sawyer, Little Orphan Annie, Romeo and Juliet, King Kong, and all the other fictional characters.

  2. Avatar
    GeoffT

    Nothing sinister here in use of word god. My old iPad used to default to say ‘God’ and it was always easier to just leave it. My new iPad Pro defaults to ‘god’, again easier to leave. I’ve just discovered that it capitalises the p when is say ‘iPad Pro’!

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I go back and forth depending on context (and whether I notice if autocorrect takes over). My capitalization or not has no effect on whether I believe in deities or not. My intention is to capitalize God when referring to the Abrahamic deity, while I often use god to refer to deities in general or in a situation to denote that I don’t attribute existence or power to a deity. I tend to capitalize Thor, Buddha, Odin, etc, as names, just as I would capitalize Bruce or Jane or any other name.

  4. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    When I realized I did not believe, I began to vary my written representation of the boss I fired. I took away the caps to make a point to myself and to my culture about what I perceived as misplaced reverence. I sometimes find myself doing this to myself in emails too, just using brian instead of the cap. I really don’t feel that any use of caps or not is better or worse but that the choice does say something within the context of the sentences where it is used.

  5. Avatar
    angiep

    Fundamentalists always have to have an argument against the “world” (as if they don’t live in it). They have to decry one thing or another to make themselves feel relevant, while seldom, if ever, trying to effect actual change for the better. For example, why don’t they expend more energy taking care of the homeless, the elderly, or other who are hurting? Fighting for social justice and economic equality? Standing up against xenophobia, speaking up for refugees? If they actually did these things instead of worrying about homosexual portrayals in movies, or swear words on TV, I might actually be able to have some respect for them.

  6. Avatar
    missimontana

    I deliberately use the lowers case for god because I don’t believe there is anything sacred about it. Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Shiva, etc. are proper names, so it is correct to capitalize them. God is simply a term for a being or beings who may live in the spirit world. I refuse to perpetuate the idea that “God” is the sole possession of Christians.
    I understand your difficulty changing, Bruce. I have LGBTQ+ friends on Twitter, and I have the same problem with pronouns.

    • Avatar
      Matilda

      I feel the same, cheated into serving god and jesus for so many years. it’s almost theraputic for me to use lower case for them, whereas every other person in the world deserves the dignity of a capital letter for their names. ( I’ve done proof-reading so am very nit-picky and nerdy about grammar, spelling etc…so it’s a bit of a surprise to me that I use lower case for all ‘gods’ so easily.)

  7. Avatar
    Ian for a long time

    Like others have said, capitalize for a proper name, use lower case for an idea or a general name. Not that hard to figure out. Nothing sinister about it.

    When I first deconverted, I deliberately used lower case letter when writing “faith words”. It was a way of venting. Now, I try to be reasonable and rational and use proper spelling and grammar. It only makes sense.

    If most Christians were to actually study a little, they would realize that God is just a replacement for a Hebrew word that refers to their god, as well as a multitude of gods.

  8. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    “God” with a capital G is one of the names Christians use for their deity (also see Yahweh, Lord, Father…) and when I’m using the word to refer to that deity, I capitalize. “god” without a capital G is a synonym for “deity”. I actually prefer the word “deity” in most contexts when not referring to one of them by name.

    I can’t tell if the writer is deliberately ambiguating the two uses of the word, or if he really is that clueless. Or maybe it isn’t cluelessness so much as having a belief in God so strong that he’s baffled how we nonbelievers can be such.

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