On this website, you will often see me refer to God as “Hashem”. This tradition has it’s roots in Judaism, of course. I’m not blazing any trails here. However, there is a reason I adopted this practice. Initially, I only had a problem with the use of the Tetragrammatron. Then I saw the above video by Rabbi Tovia Singer and it really resonated with me. His argument made sense, and I discontinued the use of many of the Christian terms to reference Hashem.
Basically, the argument goes like this. God is your father. We don’t call our father by his first name out of respect. If you were in a fight with your father and used his first name, it would be the equivalent of saying “you’re not my father anymore.” Moreover, it would be severing the parent/child relationship.
That said, what about in casual conversation? I’m not angry with God. I’m not fighting with him. However, the commandments say not to “take the name of… thy God in vain”. This verse is the crux of the issue for me. Let’s take a look at it.
Why I call God Hashem.
Thou shalt not take the name of the L–d thy God in vain; for the L–d will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.Exodus 20:7
Notice, I edited out the name of God. You may see some sites where they do the same for the title God, listing it as G-D. For me personally, I don’t believe this is necessary. But the name shouldn’t be used casually. But why “Hashem”? This is Hebrew for “the name”. Hence, thou shalt not take HaShem of God in vain. Therefore, it becomes an easy substitution to show honor and respect to God while not using His name in a casual manner.
This is not an attempt to lecture others on how they address God. It’s simply an explanation of my position on the issue. I don’t take offense when others use the name. That is between them and their God. However, I have received some questions on my use of Hashem as a non-Jewish person, and this is the answer.