Understanding religious capitalization rules can be difficult so we’re here to help. Below we’ll break down the rules for the names of religions, holy books, and people who practice a religion.
Do You Capitalize Religions?
Yes. When referring to religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. you should always capitalize the word since religions are proper nouns. Even when referring to specific sects of a religion such as Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox Judaism, and Sunni Islam, you capitalize the names since they are adjectives that refer to the proper noun of the religion.
Do You Capitalize Holy Texts?
You always capitalize the titles of religious texts such as the Holy Bible, the Torah, and the Quran because these are all proper nouns. However, bible can also be used as a regular noun so you can refer to a “fisherman’s bible” in lowercase for example. In general, if you are referring to a specific religious book, you should capitalize it.
One word you don’t capitalize is biblical. Even though it is an adjective that describes a proper noun, it has lost its capitalization over the years. This is because when it is used, it generally isn’t referring the Bible itself. Instead, phrases such as “biblical proportions” refer to a grandness that has a likeness to the Bible, but is no longer exclusive to the holy text. You can see the trend of lowercasing “biblical” over time here.
Do You Capitalize the Name of People Who Practice a Religion?
Whenever you refer to someone who practices a religion or religious sect since they too are proper nouns or adjectives that describe a proper noun. For example, you should capitalize the following people: Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Protestant.
Do You Capitalize Religious Holidays?
Yes, you should always capitalize religious holidays since they are proper nouns. When referring to holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, or Eid Al-Fitr, you should capitalize the entire word or phrase. All words also should be capitalized when wishing a happy holiday (e.g., Happy Easter, Eid Mubarak, Happy Hanukkah, etc.). If you include the word “day” at the end, you should capitalize both the holiday name and “day” since “day” is part of the holiday name in this case.