G-d is not God’s Name

Pious Jews will rarely write the word God for fear of violating the First Commandment of not taking the Lord’s name in vain. Instead they will write the word as G-d, figuring this is not calling upon God but merely referring to Him without using His name. Even some Christians have started using the G-d to express their piety as well.

Sad to say this but God is not God’s name. YHWH (English pronunciation Yahweh) is God’s name (some religions use the word Jehovah as God’s name). Using that name in vain is a violation of the First Commandment. The use of the word God is merely the use of a title, although using a capital “G” means the God of the bible as opposed to the gods of Greece, Rome and other cultures.

So pious Jews and pious Christians have taken their piety a little too far, which tends to be a problem in most religions – the overly pious keep making things increasingly more extreme for others in the group. Before you know it such religions might be using G–, or –d, or — to say God. Then they might substitute *** for the dashes and who knows how far it will go? If you don’t want to say Yahweh or Jehovah that’s fine but referring to Him as G-d is mistaken and misplaced piety.

So why that First Commandment in the first place? It is quite simple really. When you say Yahweh’s name, He must hear you. You have gotten His attention. If you are wasting His time that is a serious thing for that is a vain use of name calling, a vain use of His attention, and a vanity on the speaker’s part.

Think of it this way: If I call your name in a crowded area, you will hear it. If I call out Mary or Jane or some name that is not your name chances are you will ignore it or not hear it. You respond to your name. God responds to His name.

Even writing His with a capital “H” is showing that we are dealing with the God of the bible but “His” is not His name.

So I recommend dropping the dash and looking for other ways to show piety.

[Read my new book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic.]

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