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Capitalizing religious pronouns

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    Posted: 26 Dec 2016 at 21:24
Sometimes I have seen the pronouns referring to God and Christ capitalized such as He and Him. Sometimes these pronouns were not capitalized.    
Should these religious pronouns be capitalized?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Dec 2016 at 22:37
Depends on how religious you are.  If you're talking about the monotheistic deity, and you want to be respectful to the monotheistic tradition, you use God, the Lord, He, or Him.  If you are writing a paper on Apollo or Thor, or other polytheistic deities, the usual convention is lower case, because the convention of monotheism is that such gods don't exist (and so don't need to be respected), if you are a neopagan, you could capitalize God, He or Him when talking about Apollo, etc.  But whatever it is, it is a question of respect, not of rules of grammar so much.

Judaism goes one step further sometimes, in Judaism, you are not supposed to _say_ the name of God, the Tetragrammaton  (four letters: YHWH, what Christianity calls Jehovah).  Because you are not supposed to say the name, they sometimes write G-d, meaning God but without the vowel.  Saying the name of God implies you have power over God, but if you don't know how to pronounce it, and an Orthodox rabbi would say that we really don't know how to pronounce YHWH correctly, vowels are later additions.  btw in addition to Jehovah, there is the name Elohim used in places for the name of God, which is, interestingly, in the plural case (but _of_course_ is not plural, or is it?)

Some feminists have tried either to introduce (S)He or something like that, or a gender neutral (Gen).  Thank God that that hasn't caught on, but it doesn't mean they don't try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LouisFerdinand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2016 at 22:40
I have seen the pronouns She and Her capitalized when referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2016 at 23:07
I agree with franciscoan, but, more and more often we see words being capitalised when they shouldn't be, sloppy sub-editing.

Would it really make any difference if words like god were not capitalised. I don't think so.



It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2016 at 00:48
German capitalizes all nouns, not just personal nouns.

Well, it depends toyomotor, if you believe in God, capitalization is a sign of respect, if you don't believe in God, well then it doesn't really matter.

I would think that capitalization of pronouns for the Virgin Mary would be a Catholic thing.  John Paul II declared that Mary was "co-redemptrix."  In other words responsible for Catholic salvation along with Jesus.  Both Protestants and Orthodox Christian both kind of say, "huh?"  that might be part of what you are seeing.  Catholicism would like to unify Christendom, under the Catholic Church of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2016 at 23:27
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


Well, it depends toyomotor, if you believe in God, capitalization is a sign of respect, if you don't believe in God, well then it doesn't really matter.


I mean no disrespect, just pointing out another quirk in the English language.

If capitalisation of names considered to be holy is a mark of respect I have no issue with their use, all I'm pointing out is that, like the use of apostrophies, capitalisation is misused.

Capitalisation of holy names is thereffore, a convention, not a rule as such.


It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2016 at 01:54
I didn't think you were disrespectful.
Yes, it is definitely a convention, probably most common in religious studies students or theology students.  btw some say there is no one more atheistic than a religious studies student, so "holy" is not necessarily the word I would use.  Religious studies students often like to observe the "bizarre" behavior of the religious from on high in their ivory tower.  Kind of like an eight year old watching a bug.  Superficially, however, they can be quite polite.   Of course, not all religious studies students are that way.
god is a word referring to any deity (real or fictional), God is a proper name, or rather, a substitute for a proper name, the name itself being unmentioned and for that matter unmentionable. If you refer to "god," there can be a question of who are you referring to?  Aphrodite or Baal, or Ra, etcetera.  If you refer to "God" it means the deity of the Abrahamic tradition, not any other.  "he" refers to animals of the male sex, as opposed to animals of the female sex.  "He" refers to God as being male, but that does not mean he has male plumbing, and mystics also often refer to God as Her or she, meaning that God is not limited by a reference to "Him" as a "he"
Capitalization of pronouns in religious talk is neither necessary nor sufficient for being respectful.  But it is a convention amongst religious scholars and its use has significance.  God is not a "he" or a "they" or an "it" as we understand those kinds of things, those kinds of beings.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 2016 at 00:09
Franciscoan- May your God keep you and watch over you, whoever she may be.Wink
It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 2016 at 02:38
Of course, there is an opposite to capitalization, the use of lower case to show that one is not shouting, and uppercase for emotional emphasis.  One has the use of emoticons that developed out of this personal individual, anonymous politeness.

another case of capitalization, devil and the Devil.  devil is an anonymous imp, the Devil is Satan, Lucifer, the big cheese of Hell.  or if you want to get Platonic (Plato), you have good, and the Good, beautiful and the Beautiful, (the form or idea of the Good, or the Beautiful)., etc.

Robert Graves wrote about the White Goddess, who brought you into the word, and will take you out again.  According to the Pythagoreans all women are in the stages of their life, named after a goddess.  I have an element in me that believes in the Goddess, along with believing in God.
Graves was a poet who wrote historical novels, such as i Claudius, to pay the bills.  He also did translations of Suetonius and Apulius.


Edited by franciscosan - 30 Dec 2016 at 02:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 2016 at 04:13
Franciscoan wrote"Of course, there is an opposite to capitalization, the use of lower case to show that one is not shouting, and uppercase for emotional emphasis.  One has the use of emoticons that developed out of this personal individual, anonymous politeness."

But these are of modern construct, since the introduction of computers and the "must have accessory", the mobile phone. Or should that be Mobile Phone?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 2016 at 00:02
how old they are, is not important.
how established they are, that is what is significant.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2017 at 03:59
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

how old they are, is not important.
how established they are, that is what is significant.



Yes, they have become incredibly established world wide since the introduction of Mobile Phones, I wonder if they will creep into the every day written word?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2017 at 00:49
Another thing you see these days is a lot of abbreviations.  I think that there use is similar although ultimately different than the capitalization/ low case thang.
I hate the abbreviation POTUS, it sounds like one of those potty trainers for infants.  But I guess it gets used a lot, they use it in the television show Madame Secretary about a fictional female secretary of state in vaguely liberal administration.  I think that is one thing that Hollywood likes to do, although they themselves are probably unaware of it on that level.  When George W Bush was in the Whitehouse, a fictional president in tv land was in West Wing.
But all these abbreviations mean that 1) we don't have the time (or think we have the time) to give a proper name or title to things. 2) jargon takes over showing that we have a focused, narrow and usually a little elitist attitude towards life. the universe and everything.
btw, does anyone know what a TLA is?

Just thought of something, and I am sure that inquiring minds want to know;)

-US is a masculine ending in Latin, whereas -A is a feminine ending.  So therefore, if Hillary Clinton had been elected should we call her the POTUSA? or would we still call her the POTUS?  gosh, good thing we elected Trump and don't have to solve that issue:P


Edited by franciscosan - 04 Jan 2017 at 01:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2017 at 05:10
Does capitalisation only apply to christians, or do other religions follow the same protocol?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2017 at 22:17
It is a convention of modern scholarship, Judaism does it, but sometimes omits the vowel to show that the name of G-d is unpronounceable.  German capitalizes all nouns, not just proper ones.  I am sure Allah is capitalized, but I don't know if they use pronouns in Arabic, or not.  It is not something you _have_ to do as a Christian, it just makes it clear that you are talking about _the_ God, instead of a (supposed) god.
All (Greco- Roman) writing was originally upper case, like those of stone inscriptions, lower case developed for writing on papyrus and parchment, probably in late antiquity.  Other 'syllabary' systems don't have this kind of divide as far as i understand, but might have other conventions.
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