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Regarding Is there a trend toward not capitalizing the word "Bible"?

If you talk to my Pastor he'd tell you that it's not JUST an English issue, it's also a matter of what the Church is willing to accept. From a doctrinal perspective pushing back against a culture that increasingly show a lack of respect for God and His word. (note the capitalization of "His" to show respect.).

When I read the question, it's obvious that the OP IS asking if this is becoming acceptable within the Church, which makes it a doctrinal issue, or AT LEAST a matter of what's being tolerated within Christian Culture and therefore on topic.

  • Although the part about the Koran is pretty definitely off-topic and could be edited out. – David Stratton Feb 4 '17 at 3:23
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    I find the topic interesting, but have trouble finding it on topic. – fredsbend Feb 4 '17 at 12:20
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    I agree, the Koran issue muddies things up. I'm fine with excising it. On the other hand, the tendency of American mainstream media to tiptoe around Islam so as not to offend Muslims is a curious phenomenon. Christians need, I feel, to be aware of these tendencies and trends and speak out in winning and winsome ways within their circles of influence. Former talk show host and pundit Dennis Miller said something perceptive to Rod Parsley, pastor & author of the 2007 book "Culturally Incorrect": "The only people it's still okay to mock in this country are Christians" (p. xvi). I ask, "Why?" – rhetorician Feb 7 '17 at 2:31
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    As currently written, the question is a match or near-match for migration to English Language & Usage, as discussed in their chatroom. I don't see any reason not to go that route. – Mr. Bultitude Feb 8 '17 at 17:52
  • Did you flag it for a moderator to move? It's a learning opportunity for our new mods! – David Stratton Feb 9 '17 at 23:07
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We have many other questions about Christian language, such as the tag, and other questions such as these:

So the broad topic of Christian use of language is on-topic. (We could probably do with a new tag for these questions actually! Any suggestions? Maybe just ?)

Is this specific question on-topic? I lean towards no:

  • The inclusion of the discussion of the Koran suggests it is really asking about a general trend in English orthography. Asking whether there is a trend to no longer capitalise religious texts would be a great question to ask at English Language & Usage.
  • The talk of the Bible being "devalued" or "demoted" and of "political in-correctness" implies the usage described and asked about is really in society at large and not specifically among Christians, which makes it off-topic.
  • I also don't see how the question could be answered objectively. There surely are some people who do deliberately devalue the Bible by refusing to capitalise it, but answers to this question are likely to rely on anecdotes and devolve into a discussion of the decreasing relevance of Christianity in Western society.

I think for the question to be reopened it should be edited to:

  • Ask only about the Bible
  • Make it clear that it is asking about the language of Christians and not society in general
  • Ask for specific evidence, for example from Christian books and blogs
  • I definitely agree the inclusion of the Koran weakens the argument that it's on topic..But if that part were edited out as that part is clearly not on topic... Would that be enough to salvage it? – David Stratton Feb 4 '17 at 3:45
  • @DavidStratton I'd also want the question to much more clearly state that it is only interested in trends of Christians, perhaps by saying that answers should give evidence from Christian books and blogs, etc. – curiousdannii Feb 4 '17 at 3:48
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – curiousdannii Feb 4 '17 at 5:12
  • @curiousdannii: Are you saying that Christians should be interested in trends only within the church and not in the culture at large? Seems to me that since Christians are "in the world" but are not to be "of the world," they should be aware of trends both inside and outside the church. If in fact the evolution of the word "Bible" to the word "bible" is a trend in either place (or both places), shouldn't Christians be interested in why that might be and what their response should be if in fact it IS a sign of the further devaluation of the Christian faith in American culture? – rhetorician Feb 7 '17 at 2:11
  • @rhetorician Sure Christians should think about those issues, but that doesn't make it on-topic here. What response to have is definitely off-topic. – curiousdannii Feb 7 '17 at 2:38
  • I guess we'll need to agree to disagree agreeably. Just one additional thought, however . . .. There would be no Christianity to ask and answers questions about if not for the Bible. How can Christians (or people who are interested in Christianity) divorce one from the other? Impossible. Don – rhetorician Feb 7 '17 at 3:57
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I'd say it's as topical as "AD & BC" vs "CE & BCE" I certainly believe Christian Culture should be topical, especially since it is informed by tradition (which ought to always be topical).

But, if we go that route, I've got a backlog of questions from my unsuccessful attempt to start a Catholic Culture stackexchange!

  • The question you linked to asks for "an official Christian statement" - that's the same problem as Is it valid to ask if “Christianity” teaches anything? If it was edited to focus on one denomination then it would be appropriate to reopen it. – curiousdannii Feb 4 '17 at 3:42
  • I have to agree with curiousdanii that there is enough of a difference... One is asking for an official statement, which makes no sense, while the other simply asks if there's a general trend within Christianity (which has a simple answer... "yes') But I may be splitting hairs to think one should be open but not the other. On the last part, I haven't seen your proposal on area51 but if there are questions there that would be in topic here. – David Stratton Feb 4 '17 at 3:51
  • @DavidStratton how about this – Peter Turner Feb 4 '17 at 20:07
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Is there any reason to think the answer to "Is 'bible' becoming an acceptable form of 'Bible'?" different than "Is 'r u' becoming an acceptable form of 'are you'?"

If not, then it's just an English question (or perhaps a broader language question, as the same phenomenon likely occurs in many/most/all languages).

(My personal theory/hypothesis: Both are increasing for precisely the same reason: In the past, using written language implied a level of education that it no longer implies. In the more immediate past, the proliferation of less formal communications media (email, facebook, SMS) has further added to sloppy orthography.)

This litmus test, if accepted, might put an unreasonable burden on the asker, in the sense that they might need to demonstrate that the questions are distinct.

But on the other hand, there's a reasonable site, full of experts on the subject matter, where both questions can be asked (EL&U, namely). And if they were to say "Gee, 'r u' is explained by X, but 'bible'... I dunno, ask a religion expert.", that would be grounds to ask here.

  • The seems to be asking for a level of research that's much higher than any other question. How about "it's just played off topic"? – fredsbend Feb 4 '17 at 18:13

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