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Brian (8)

The traditional meaning of the word "God"


My understanding is that when the word God is used with a capital "G" (in english literature, theology and philosophy) we are talking about the theistic god of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We are referring to a specific god. Same as when we use capitals to refer to any other specific person by name eg John or Susan.
 
I presume things are different in Hinduism for example. I am not sure how they refer to their gods in the typical hindu languages such as hindi? Presumably the anciant Greeks referred to their gods generally in lower-case but used capitals when referring say to Zeus. Did they even have capitals/lower-case letters in ancient greek?
Do we have any historians or language experts amongst us? 
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Brent (9)

Other Gods


Thanks Brian, I would slightly modify your above in that 'God' denotes personality, a thing worthy of a propr noun, not just specificity.
The proper noun is appropriate when referencing a personal being in the author's eyes. So, in this way, someone might pray to 'God' while someone else feels a sense of 'god'. For some, 'God' created reality, while for others 'god' is the intention they perceive behind evolution. While for others 'god' is unbelievable. We make a personal judgement call by using the proper noun or otherwise.

Because of this, my use of 'God' in the topic titles is assuming too much. So I will change it. Personally, I oscillate between 'god' and 'God' as I think and shift my opinions. 

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Brian (8)

Pesky language


Brent
I have had exactly the same experience as you in the issue of when I use capital 'G' and when not. Historically it has also been a somewhat emotional decision. In fact I used to believe the capitals were used exclusively by believers - not only in 'God' but also in 'He'  and 'Divine' etc. And I think that may often actually happen.
But then I did a Philosophy of religion course which included a couple of serious atheists. They also used the capital "G". So when I dug deeper I discovered the philosophical convention (at least in western philosophy) that 'G'od applies to the theistic god of judaism, christianity and islam - just to make things clear and efficient - not as some token of worship. If you are going to be precise with language then you need non-emotionally affected conventions.
But we are not tied to any conventions here - and I don't think we are likely to get confused by which god (real or delusional) someone is talking about.