Hello, future learner. You are not currently logged in.
Register OR Login
Or Give This Course as a Gift!

God the Concept

Presented by Bo Bennett, PhD

Maybe you were born to Christian parents and raised as a Christian. Or maybe you are just a part of a Christian nation. You might have attended church regularly, or maybe just on special occasions. If asked, you say that you believe in God, but you really never thought about what that means exactly. You are a well-educated person who accepts the idea of Biblical miracles, but only the more "reasonable" ones. You have read some of the Bible, mostly just parts of the New Testament, but never committed to reading the Bible cover to cover. You are a good person who admires the many "Christian values" as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. But something does not feel right.

A Critical and Honest Examination of God and Religion

Science tells us that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, but the Bible tells us it's 6,000 years old.
Science tells us life is the result of emergent properties in combined molecules, and we have evolved from a very primitive life form, but the Bible says that God made us, as is, from dust, and blew life in our noses.
You see a world where little bunnies burn to death in forest fires, and wonder why an all-good and loving God would allow such a thing to happen.
You pray to God and you realize that sometimes your prayers are answered, and sometimes they aren't — just as if you didn't pray at all.
You hear about other religions and wonder why your religion is right and every other religion on the planet is wrong.
You have a real problem with the idea of all your non-Jesus-believing friends and family spending eternity in Hell.



In fact, the more you look around, the more you see a world absent of this perfect image of a perfect God. As much as you want to avoid critical thinking and "just let go and have faith", you find that you cannot believe in something contrary to your logic and reason — no matter how much you want to. This might lead to feelings of guilt, insincerity, and/or hypocrisy. Yet you just can't imagine living life without God, and you don't have to.

When you start asking serious questions about God and religion, you begin to see through the stories of people living inside the stomachs of big fish, 900-year-old men, and bodies coming back to life after three days, and understand how man created God, and not the other way around. By daring to question "sacred" religion, challenging your childhood beliefs, and risking eternal damnation (okay, so there might be a minor side effect to reading this book), you will discover an appreciation for religion on a new level, as well as a renewed appreciation for the human race.

Through a unique blend of science, philosophy, theology, and a touch of humor, you will see how you can trust your logic and reason, be true to yourself, and embrace God -- not as a being, but as a concept -- The Concept.

Audience

This course was designed for students 13 and up.

Learning Resources

For this course, text, audio, and video resources are used. All of the resources are compatible with virtually all modern web-browsers and mobile devices.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

There are no required resources for this course.

Optional Resources

There are no optional resources for this course.

Student Expectations

As a self-paced course, there are no time expectations. Students are expected to communicate with instructors and other students in a professional and respectful manner.

This Syllabus May Be Updated

The contents of this syllabus may change from time to time. All students will be notified by e-mail of any significant changes.

Lessons in this Course

Click on any lesson below to see the lesson details. If you are a student and logged in, or if the lesson is a sample lesson, you will be able to go to the lesson.

Section 1: FRONT MATTER
Lesson #1: Preface (sample lesson)

Lesson #1: Preface

Growing up, church was about as enjoyable as being thrown naked into a tub of red ants.  The only time I enjoyed church was when we heard someone pass gas during the silent prayers.   Or when I was hungry and got to eat that wafer thing.. . .

Go To Lesson

Section 2: WHAT AND WHY

Lesson #2: Science, Philosophy, and Religion: Do We Really Need All Three?

Since the beginning of recorded human history, we’ve seen that religion has played a large part in our development.  Around 600 BCE, philosophy enters the scene and challenges us with important questions about the world and our place in . . .

Lesson #3: Theists, Atheists, and Agnostics, Oh My!

So what are you?  A theist, an atheist, an agnostic, or something else entirely?  These definitions are subjective, commonly misunderstood, and often misused. Although it’s more important to fully understand your beliefs rather than. . .
Section 3: ARGUMENTS

Lesson #4: The Meaning of Life

I’ve heard it said that if there is no God, then life has no meaning.  This is a gross misrepresentation of the word “meaning” and belittles human existence to the billions of people who don’t believe in a creator. God . . .

Lesson #5: Where Does Logic Come From?

Before one tries to use logic to evaluate the evidence for and against the existence of God and/or other religious claims, one must contemplate the nature of logic.   Christian apologist (one who defends the faith) Matt Slick has asked, &ldqu. . .

Lesson #6: Argument from Ignorance / God of the Gaps

Life, as we know it, is full of mystery — from the smallest theoretical particles to what we believe to be the outer edges of our universe.  What is smaller than a quark?  What is outside the universe? Is there more than one univers. . .

Lesson #7: Does the Universe Point to God?

As promised, you’ll get no feeble attempt from me to explain how the universe came to be.  When looking for these kinds of answers, it makes sense to defer to experts in the field of cosmology and physics, and refer to their books on the. . .

Lesson #8: The “Fine Tuning” Argument

Perhaps the greatest atheist silencer of the 21st century is what is known as the fine tuning or fine-tuned universe argument.   Ironically, this was made popular more recently by Stephen Hawking.  The idea of a finely-tuned universe. . .

Lesson #9: What Have We Been Up To These Last 250,000 Years?

Most paleontologists agree that humans have been on this earth for around 250,000 years or so.  If this is true, it does raise two very interesting questions. One, given the progress we have made in the last 100 years alone, what have we been . . .

Lesson #10: Common Ground and Circular Arguments

Imagine how difficult it would be for a non- Star Trek fan to debate the existence of God with a person who only spoke and understood Klingon.  Now imagine a theist who uses the “Word of God” as the foundation of his argument whil. . .

Lesson #11: Objective Moral Values: Do They Exist?

One of the most widely-used arguments for the Christian faith is the idea of objective moral values (or absolute moral values ), which has its origins in the Bible.  This is the idea that our morals come from the perfectly good and moral Go. . .

Lesson #12: Dying for the Faith

Christian tradition maintains that eleven of the twelve disciples of Jesus were martyred for their faith (it’s believed that John, the disciple to whom the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation are attributed, died of old age).  Whil. . .

Lesson #13: Creationism, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

How did we get here?  Since we can’t go back in time to find out, we can either believe in one of the hundreds of creation stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, we can use science to help us find the answer, o. . .

Lesson #14: Is Religion Child Abuse?

I loved my parents very much, yet they still brought me up with some twisted beliefs.  My mom was a huge UFO fan and used to talk about aliens all the time like they were part of our society.  In fact, I couldn’t sleep alone with th. . .

Lesson #15: It’s a Miracle!

The word “miracle” has become so watered down in our culture that we even associate it with artery-clogging condiments used by people too cheap to spend an extra 30 cents on Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise .  When the underdog em. . .

Lesson #16: Freewill and Determinism

A moment ago, I chose to write about this subject.  I feel as if I made that choice freely.  But did I really make this choice freely, or was it inevitable based on an almost infinite series of prior causes and events?  In other word. . .
Section 4: BELIEF

Lesson #17: Belief and Christianity

Why do we believe what we believe, and most importantly, do we really have a choice in the matter?  The latter is a question of extreme importance, since Christian faith hinges on belief – the belief that Jesus is your savior, that Jes. . .

Lesson #18: Crazy or a Really Faithful Christian?

I read a true story about a man named John List who lost his job and was worried that being forced to move to a low-income neighborhood would cause his children to abandon Christ and stray from religion.  In order to “save their souls,&r. . .

Lesson #19: ‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith

The 80’s pop icon, George Michael, tells us, while wearing his painted on jeans, that we gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith.  Similarly, Jesus told us the same thing about 2000 years earlier in a less musical way, most likely wearing somet. . .

Lesson #20: Atheists, What Proof of God Do You Require?

Very often in debates, the Christian will ask the atheist, “So what would you accept as proof of God’s existence?”  Almost always, the atheist gets all flustered and says something stupid like, “God to write in the clou. . .

Lesson #21: Having an Open Mind

Every so often I come across a movie where the over-protective, cat-eye-glasses-wearing, martini-drinking mother will blame anything and everything undesirable on “the devil”.  “Mom? Can I go to the school dance tonight?. . .

Lesson #22: Just Wishful Thinking?

Theists have often been accused of embracing Christianity because of wishful thinking.  It is great to think that there is a father figure always looking out for us.  It is comforting to think of a world in which perfect justice prevails . . .

Lesson #23: One Billion Christians Are Wrong

The law of contradiction states that something cannot be true and false at the same time.  This is one of the undisputed laws of logic adhered to by just about everyone, no matter what their religion.  This law states that a duck cannot a. . .

Lesson #24: Spirituality: Not as Crazy as it Seems

Many years ago, out of pure intellectual curiosity, I attended a spoon-bending seminar at a “spirituality” retail store in Western Massachusetts.  Spoon bending is the practice of bending spoons allegedly using supernatural forces.. . .

Lesson #25: How Would Your Life Be Different?

If you are a Christian, I ask you to imagine that you are an atheist.  If you are an atheist, imagine that you are a Christian.  How would your life be different than it is now?  And more importantly, why would it be different? . . .

Lesson #26: You’re In Good Company

Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, and the Wright Brothers were Christians?  Did you know that Thomas Edison, Thomas Paine, and Andrew Carnegie were atheists?  Does it really matter?  Can we say that we have Christi. . .
Section 5: QUESTION EVERYTHING

Lesson #27: What Do You Really Know?

Socrates once said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”  Or did he say that?  Maybe he just wrote it.  Or maybe he didn’t say that or write it, but someone just attributed that to him.  Maybe. . .

Lesson #28: Anthropocentrism — Really?

In studying religion and reading the Bible, there is one reoccurring theme that is central to the teachings and it bothers me in so many ways:  Anthropocentrism .  This is a fancy word for the idea that humans are the center of universe.. . .

Lesson #29: Heaven is “Up”?

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “. . .

Lesson #30: Heaven: It’s Not What You Think It Is

Heaven is believed to be the most wonderful place imaginable where images of pearly gates, streets paved with gold, and little chubby angels playing harps fill our heads.  Heaven is a place where good people go along with bad people who just h. . .

Lesson #31: What the Hell?

Just like Heaven, our western culture’s image of Hell has taken on a life of its own thanks to the imaginations of authors, poets, artists, religious leaders, and moviemakers.  When we think of Hell, we think of a red devil with a pitchf. . .

Lesson #32: What Makes You, You?

I came across one of our home videos the other day of my daughter, Annabelle, and I playing together on a swing set when she was about two years old.  I remember her little waddle, adorable giggle, and her tiny smile that was almost always hid. . .

Lesson #33: Where is Hitler Now?

I think most of us would agree that by today’s moral standards, Adolf Hitler was a terrible man.  I don’t want to verbally recreate his atrocities, since I am quite sure that most people know what he did.  But the question is:. . .

Lesson #34: Would You Slaughter Babies? Are You Sure?

Imagine you are out on a camping trip with your son.  You hear a voice that you believe is God, telling you to take your son deep into the woods, and slaughter him (Gen 22:1-2).  Would you do it?  Or the LORD commands you slaughter e. . .

Lesson #35: Prayer. Is There a Point?

People are very divided on the idea of prayer.  Some see it as a direct communication with God and a means to ask for whatever they want, others see it as nothing more than talking to oneself.  So where do these beliefs come from and more. . .

Lesson #36: Prayer, Safety, and Planes

Your spouse is leaving on a plane to spend some time with a friend across the country.  As a good Christian, and a loving spouse, you say a prayer for him or her after saying goodbye at the airport, asking God to see to it that he or she lands. . .
Section 6: GOD

Lesson #37: You Need To Know the Whole Truth

Did you ever buy a used car only to find out later that there were numerous problems with the car that the salesperson conveniently left out in his sales pitch?  Or maybe you hired someone who looked great on her resume, but later discovered t. . .

Lesson #38: Presuppositions About God’s Existence

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of examining the existence of God fairly, is the presupposition you bring with you to the process.  First we define God, usually by Christian standards, and then decide whether we believe in this God or not.&n. . .

Lesson #39: What Makes God, God?

In Chapter 31, we explored the idea of what makes you, you.  As we replace 100% of your biological body parts with highly advanced robotics and super-computers capable of perfectly mimicking the human brain, then erase your memory, at some poi. . .

Lesson #40: Praise God!

I live quite a wonderful life for which I am very grateful.  I have a loving wife, two amazing kids, and an excessively sweet dog. We are all healthy, happy, and well off financially.  As someone who holds gratitude as a virtue, I want so. . .

Lesson #41: Is it God We Need? Or the Idea of God?

It has been suggested that for every desire, want, and need, there is a corresponding object or action to fulfill that desire, want, or need, otherwise, we would not have them.  I wake up in the morning and I have the urge to relieve myself.&n. . .

Lesson #42: God of the Past vs. God of the Present

When we were kids, my friends and I would all brag about a time in the past when we caught a fish “the size of a shark” or even caught “dozens” of fish in one day.  When we were actually fishing together, however, we us. . .
Section 7: THE BIBLE

Lesson #43: 10 Things You Need To Know About the Bible

When my 9-year-old son told me that he thought the Bible was a book about hotels, I realized he might not be the only one whose understanding of the Bible is not quite what it should be.  I have Christian friends that have been reading parts . . .

Lesson #44: Bible Interpretation: Who’s Right?

If there is one indisputable fact about the Bible, it is this: the Bible is widely open for interpretation.  This is why according to the World Christian Encyclopedia , global Christianity had (in year 2000) 33,820 denominations.  The WC. . .

Lesson #45: Do Biblical Contradictions Exist?

Most Christians either believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God or at least that the Bible was inspired by God.  Given this, the Bible, as believed by many, cannot contain any errors (inerrant), even though the creation, duplication, . . .

Lesson #46: What About All the Fulfilled Biblical Prophecies?

Just days after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, I received a e-mail from my aunt who forwarded it from her BFF, who forwarded it from her husband, who forwarded it from his boss, who forwarded it from her cousin’s piano instructor, w. . .

Lesson #47: CHRISTIANITY

It is estimated that approximately 2.1 billion people, or about 33% of the world’s population, consider themselves Christians today.   In the United States alone, there are about 225 million Christians or 85% of the population.  In. . .

Lesson #48: Born to Be Bad?

One of the central concepts of Christianity never sat well with me.  This is the concept of Federal Headship .  This is the term used in Christianity to explain Adam’s (the first man, therefore our “father”) relationshi. . .

Lesson #49: It’s All or Nothing, Baby.

I had always taken the position that any form of liberal Christianity made more sense than the fundamentalist, evangelical, Biblical literalist position held by relatively few Christians (percentage wise).  I have many Christian friends who be. . .

Lesson #50: What’s Wrong with Traditional Christianity?

So many people confuse the benefits and harms of religion with the existence of God.  In debate, you will hear both theists and atheists attempting to prove or disprove the existence of God based on arguments surrounding religion’s, or C. . .

Lesson #51: What’s Right with Traditional Christianity?

As one who doesn’t accept the supernatural, it’s easy for me to dismiss Christianity as an ancient belief system that has long outlived it usefulness.  In fact, this was my position for most of my life.  But this changed when . . .
Section 8: JESUS

Lesson #52: The Jesi

Everyone knows Jesus.  He is that really nice guy with long hair, beard, compassionate eyes, and a great pair of sandals (aka “Jesus Jumpers”).  But how do we know this Jesus?  And how accurate is our idea of Jesus vers. . .

Lesson #53: Who Was Jesus if Not God?

Christian apologist and Irish-born British novelist, C.S. Lewis, popularized the Trilemma argument back in the mid 20th century.  This argument was meant for all the people who reject Jesus as God, but insist that he was still, “a real. . .

Lesson #54: Was Jesus Superman or Batman?

There is an ongoing debate as to who is the better superhero, Superman or Batman?  Superman is a being from another world who possesses super-human powers.  Superman grew up as a human, but despite his humanness, will always be a Kryptoni. . .

Lesson #55: Why Do Jews Reject Jesus?

The first question that came to my mind when diving into the fascinating world of Christianity was, “Why do Jews reject Jesus as the savior?”  Jews were, after all, there in the time of Jesus, and Jesus was a Jew!  Do Jews kno. . .

Lesson #56: Is the Jesus Story Unique?

In studying world religions, both past and present, I was quite shocked to hear about the many virgin-born, crucified, resurrected, miracle-working, savior-gods who supposedly died for the sins of humanity.  As a born and raised Catholic, I kn. . .

Lesson #57: The Story of Jesus: What Really Happened and Why — According to Me

It’s easy for me or anyone to claim that the Christian documents found in the Bible cannot be accepted as a legitimate source of historical fact.  The four canonical Gospels were written an estimated 35 to 60 years after the death of Jes. . .
Section 9: MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

Lesson #58: Does God Exist?

Without question God exists.   To some, God exists only as a fairy-tale.   To others, God is a spiritual being who contains many human characteristics along with many divine characteristics, which makes him an infinite being; i.e., a be. . .

Lesson #59: Conclusion

Religion, like it or not, is a major part of our history, culture, and daily lives.   Religion is not going anywhere — not until the major questions about life are answered to everyone’s complete satisfaction.   Atheists fin. . .

Lesson #60: Letter To God

Dear God, . I do not believe that you exist like the Bible says you do, but just in case I am incorrect, I want you to know why I came to the conclusion I did, so that if Hell exists, you don’t make me go there. . I have read your book,. . .

About Your Instructor

Bo Bennett, PhD. Bo Bennett's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime." Much of his work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think. His projects include his books, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies, and Year To Success, a full year course in success. Bo has a podcast/blog called "The Dr. Bo Show" at http://www.TheDrBoShow.com where he takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining.

Bo holds a PhD in social psychology, with a master's degree in general psychology and bachelor's degree in marketing. His complete bio along with current projects can be found at BoBennett.com.

Course Rating

no ratings yet

Course Information

Passive Microlearning Course Option:

This is passive course where you are sent one lesson per day by e-mail. There is no required interactivity. Each lesson averages just a few minutes.

  • 60 days of lessons delivered to your e-mail, one per day—just minutes per day
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will receive an authenticated certificate of completion

A total of approximately 5 hours 5 minutes of student learning.

$14.95
Limited Time Offer: $ 9.95


Hello, future learner. You are not currently logged in.
Register OR Login
Or Give This Course as a Gift!

Refund Policy: All course purchases can be refunded within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Group Discounts: We offer enrollment discounts for 10 or more students. Contact us for details.


BooksToCourses.com Privacy Policy Technical Support
 Copyright 2017, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.