Grammar 211

God is usually in reference to a monotheistic deity- the Christian and Islamic god in particular. Whereas god is a reference to a polytheistic deity.
For one to say "I don't believe in god" has no meaning. For it is the same as me to say "I love mom" -it just doesn't make sense, for you are leaving it arbitrary to which one you are talking about; Mom is my mom, your mom is your mom, there are lots of moms out there but my mom is Mom.

Unless of course you are trying to bend the rules of English grammar in an attempt of disrespect. To the listener however, non-capitalization is merely perceived as you are either a) a fool who doesn't know how to communicate properly by obeying the rules of English, b) a fool who doesn't know how to communicate properly and respectfully, or c) a fool who doesn't know how to press buttons properly. In the case of B, many hardcore atheists seem to prefer to down right insult Christians and Islams with this kind of tactic. While it may be tolerated in a unformal public forum, in a formal debate it is considered a low, cheap shot from the insecure.

Now the capitolization of pronouns is a different matter. While not an offical rule of English its' use can be dated to the first translated Bible to English. There are many reasons for it: simple respect for The Almighty as well as letting the reader know when the author means God or a man. Saying "He gave us free will" cleary communicates I mean God. But to those who are not believers in a monotheist religon may find offense to using it. Thus why it is not an offical rule by any means.

So in conclusion: when talking about the Christian or Islamic god use God; when talking about a god in general, use god; if you have belief in the diety, captialize pronouns to give the reader clarification.

Note for over-enthustatic Christians: "I believe in a God" is not correct. There is also a difference in accepting the premise "say there is a God" and "say there is a god". For the former would imply all the rules and stipulations that go with the Christian god (all-loving, all-wise, all-powerful,the Creator, the Father, etc). In the case of the latter it is left to the basic defintion of a god.