We’re taught in grade school that there are certain times we capitalize words and certain times we don’t. In short, words are capitalized:
1.) When they begin a sentence.
2.) When they are a proper name of something or someone (including names of Gods).
3.) When the word “I” is used.
4.) When a pronoun refers to a God.
I’ve always wondered if you didn’t believe in a God, why you had to show them respect by capitalizing their name? If you’re a Christian, and you’re talking about Mohammed, you have to reference Him with a capital “H.” Them’s the rules — even though your God thinks it’s silly. But trust me God, would be PISSED if you didn’t capitalize words referring to him. According to the Holy Observer, a satirical site who lays out rules for treating God right through grammar:
As a general rule, when in doubt, Capitalize! Writing about God is serious business, and it would be better to capitalize a word that does not refer to God than to miss out on blessings by not capitalizing.
Or, according to this real article:
Since God is the King of Kings,
it only made sense to capitalize pronouns referring to God.
Gotcha, so things that refer to Kings of Kings are capitalized. Got it.
But wait, most Bibles don’t adhere to the rule. What gives? It was a later invention to start capitalizing holy pronouns (Wait, do I have to capitalize the phrase “Holy Pronouns”?)?
Here’s an interesting essay on the subject.
So the Bible itself doesn’t capitalize divine pronouns, though some translations do. This itself creates a problem, though. What if a passage is ambiguous about whether it’s referring to God or a mere human being? This isn’t common, but the lack of capitalization in the original creates this possibility, and it does occur. More common in when a passage about kingship in the Old Testament refers first of all to a human king (or other type of Christ) or ideal kingship and then in an extended sense to the Messiah. Should you then capitalize the pronoun?
Some people try resolve this by not capitalizing pronouns when it’s unclear but doing so when it’s clear, but this makes an interpretation already, since the reader will take it as a mere human reference. Another try is to capitalize pronouns for God the Father but not for Christ, since most of the references are those fuzzy Messianic references. This creates two problems. One is the fact that some passages are hard to tell whether the references is to God or to a mere human (and some are hard to tell whether God the Father or Jesus Christ). The second problem is that this starts to make Jesus look less deserving of reverence, since the point of capitalizing was to convey reverence.
So I say we should do what the biblical authors did. We should follow ordinary capitalization conventions for our language. We should capitalize at the beginning of sentences, since that’s what we do in English, and we should capitalize proper names. Other letters are lower case for the most part.
Here, Here, ParableMan. That’s an excellent idea.