Should we address God by his title or by his proper name?

Most Jews and Christians address God by a title, such as God, Lord, Creator, or Father. However, some people address God using a proper name, such as Jehovah, Yahweh, or Allah. In other contexts, we address those we hold in high esteem by a title, such as Mom, Dad, Doctor, Rabbi, or Pastor. How should we address God?

Update:

@ Elizabeth, we call the doctor by his name and title to distinguish him from other doctors. Are you suggesting there are other gods?

Update 2:

Doesn't calling God "Jehovah" or "Allah" verbally degrade him to the level of a peer? I certainly never called by dad "Richard," even though that was his name.

Update 3:

Interesting ideas about HaShem, literally, "the Name."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Judai...

27 Answers

Relevance
  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Most Jews use either the English 'G-d' or the Hebrew (and preferred) 'HaShem'. A large percentage of Jews from Arabic speaking countries will also use the word Allah. In the Tanach (Jewish Bible), there are 72 different "names" for HaShem, however, none of them are actual names, they're descriptions of or titles for HaShem that are contextual.

    HaShem's true name is NEVER used and hasn't been used since the Temple in Jerusalem stood and even then, it was only said by the High Priest while in the Temple. This is because, in Judaism, HaShem's name is too holy to use in daily conversation. It's a sign of respect. That is also why we never use any of the titles found in the Tanach in daily conversation, because they're used in the Tanach, they are considered too holy to use in regular conversation.

    Please note that the names "Jehovah" and "Yahweh" are completely Christian in origin and are not, nor ever have been, used by Jews.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Very interesting.

    We should address God by using His Name and the reason is simple: because He asks us to use His Name.

    I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses

    Edit: interesting point to make that we would not call our parents by their name, because for one thing, it sounds strange and for another, it changes the role of parenthood ie makes them more a friend than a parent. However, if they asked for the child to call them by their name, the child would and I know this because my husband and his brother had to call their mum by her name ( even though they would have preferred to call her mum). And so this is with Jehovah. If He had stated that His Name should not be uttered, than we would not do so. It is all about respecting.

    Many say: God in a degrading manner. And so the same with His Name if used in a disrespectful name, but does that mean we should refrain from using His Name, because some are being derogatory? No, we feel great respect for our Creator's Personal Name.

    Oh and Elizabeth is of course saying there are other gods. Anything and everything can be made into a god. But no one can be: God.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Cindy
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Jesus said, "After this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father . . ." In this case, the word He used was "pater," which is a Greek term for Father. When He prayed to Him directly before the crucifixion, He called Him "Abba," which is Chaldean, and probably what Hebrew children called their daddies. Paul tells us in Romans and Galatians that the Holy Spirit causes us to cry out, "Abba! Father!"

    I call Him Abba, Father, Papa. If I'm speaking specifically to Jesus, I may say Lord, Jesus, Teacher, Rabbi, Master, or Ishi (from OT; 'you will no longer call Me 'my Baal' (Lord), but you will call me 'my Ishi' (husband)). To the Holy Spirit, I usually say something endearing as I feel the Spirit is held so dearly by Abba and Jesus and also by me -- words such as 'dear, precious, beautiful Spirit. You get the idea.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    In Islam we call the Creator of the mankind, the Heavens and the earth by the name Allah.

    We praise Only Him, we worship only Him and ask for help only from Him.

    So in reality, people of any religion should also be worshiping the Creator of the Heavens and the earth too, and they would be directing their worship to Him Alone and ask for help only from Him, not anyone or anything else.

    In English, the word most suited would be 'God' as long as we know that we are referring to the Creator of the Universe, earth and Mankind

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 8 years ago

    Actually, Allah is an Arabic word for God, so if God is a title, then Allah should also be a title!

    How about addressing God the same way Jesus did...our heavenly Father! Jesus always prayed to the one He called "Father", so how can we see ourselves calling our earthly father by his personal name??? Jesus is supposed to be our model leader, He gave us a model prayer, so we should all be model followers of Christ and render respect to our Heavenly Father!

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 8 years ago

    I cannot vouch for other religions. My own belief is that christians can pray to the Father Son Spirit or simply call God God. There is a firm consensus in the wider christian tradition that prayer to God, to the Father, to the Son is fine in personal devotion. The question of prayer directly to the Holy Spirit is more fraught with tension. My own belief is that the New Testament encourages or allows prayer to the Holy Spirit.

    Source(s): Bible/experience of praying to the Holy Spirit.
    • Login to reply the answers
  • 8 years ago

    Jesus instructed us to address Him as "Father". That's good enough for me. I pray to the Father in the name of the Son. I won't go to the wall over this being the only right way, but addressing God by His covenant name feels disrespectful to me.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Jim
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Jesus specifically instructed us to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven". (and no, His name is not "art")

    Adding the tag line "in Jesus name" at the end is more of an evangelical superstition than anything else. Jesus told us He would grant anything we ask in His name. Using it as a tag line is formulaic literalism at work. What He meant was asking in accordance to His will and purpose.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Vanmom
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Father.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Abby
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I choose to call him father. To me this helps maintain the close personal relationship that I want with him. To call him God, Elohim or other names seems impersonal to me. I am his child, therefore he is truly my father with all his love, caring, concern, discipline, etc. i.e. just like my dad on earth but much wiser, much more forgiving.

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.