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ASL: "God" or "god"

See the usage notes for this sign:

GOD [version 1]



The version of the sign GOD above tends to generally refer to deity and/or conveys a meaning that tends toward a "capital G" type of "God."  If you wish to be more neutral and or convey the concept of a lowercase "god" a good option is to simply fingerspell "G-O-D."

fs-GOD [Version 2 as in "god" with a lowercase "g" in English]



Usage notes:

Dr. Bill writes:  I don't think any particular religion has a "lock" on the general sign for "GOD."

Even if someone tells you, "No, no, no -- the traditional sign 'GOD' only refers to Elohim" (a name for God used frequently in the Hebrew Bible)" -- I think it is simply their opinion.

To be (perhaps) more clear (or at least more blunt) -- the sign GOD is a sign -- not a "namesign." It doesn't belong to any particular God.

Those of us who can fingerspell quickly do often tend to spell "god" for general reference to the concept of "a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes" (Source on that definition: Lexico (dot) com).

Just now while discussing the above post with my assistant I choose to spell "god" rather than do the full sign.

There is typically a difference between how we sign while "discussing" vs how we sign while "worshiping." (I'll let you think about that on your own since I don't want this thread to devolve.)   If you are signing a hymn then yes -- you should use the GOD sign.  I've seen a lot of signed hymns in my life and not once have I seen someone just fingerspell G-O-D during a signed hymn during a Deaf church service. 
However if you "do" see someone spell G-O-D during a hymn don't fret about it -- instead try to understand the context and/or why the person chose to express the concept that way instead of putting in the effort to do the sign in a large, beautiful way.

The fact is the full sign for GOD takes a lot of work compared to the trivial amount of work it takes to do a lexicalized version of fs-GOD-[lexicalized] that basically only moves the index finger while twisting the wrist a bit. (Don't believe me? Try spelling "god" 30 times and by the time you hit 30 you'll be doing a little bend flick of the index finger.)

So when folks tell you to just spell "god" -- it isn't because there isn't a sign for "god or God" -- it is because spelling it is really, really fast, easy, and efficient. The extra work in signing GOD is fitting when you want to show your God (and fellow worshipers) that you care enough to put out the effort to do a beautiful, large sign, that rises up and thus puts you in subjugation.

This "extra movement" isn't "just" about religion (worship) either. It can be to show "honor or respect" as in the Pledge of Allegiance when we choose to "sign" GOD instead of spell "G-O-D."




Also see: JESUS
Also see: GOD (Youtube clip)


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