Does anyone know when it was that bloggers, journalists, and others writing about religion made the choice to start using “god” instead of “God” to refer to … well, that’s sort of the problem, isn’t it? And if not when, does anyone know why they’ve made it? I mean, it’s really not at all clear exactly what kind of construction one is using when one writes, e.g., that:
If, however, we live in a vast and varying multiverse, there could be as many as 10 [to the power of] 500 different universes in all, making the chance of ours occurring among them comfortably higher. Thus, multiverse theory eliminates the fine-tuning argument for the existence of god.
… it occurs to me once again that there is a very obvious difference between a Flying Spaghetti Monster and god (of whatever denomination): the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a construct designed specifically to ridicule, and god is not.
That second example is especially illustrative, I think: “Flying Spaghetti Monster” is really a (non-referring) proper name, of course, and as such it gets capitalized in English sentences. But in English we just don’t have a rule that allows us to use a non-capitalized singular nominative without preceding it with a definite or indefinite article – or at least, if we do have such a rule, then I can’t think offhand of any cases where it’s used other than (the?) “god” one.
So what’s the motivation? Is it because what’s supposed to be at stake in these discussions is exactly the question of whether God exists? But then why don’t we do the same for mythical spaghetti monsters and the like? Is it because it’s supposed to be left open whether there might be more than one divine being, or because there’s a concern as to whether the word “God” in the mouths of various English-speaking believers doesn’t always have the same referent? But then why not “the existence of a god (or gods)”, “between a Flying Spaghetti Monster and a god”, etc.”? Is there some substantive idea here that I’m somehow blind to? Or is it just one of those subtle ways that languages happen to evolve, something that I, too, will have to fall in with if I don’t want to be the only one left clinging to the linguistic peculiarities of the past?
Like I said, I’m just wondering.