About the course

The proclamation that 'God is dead’ has been made many times, and yet the concept of God seems to be remarkably resilient, showing no signs of disappearing.

But what do people really mean when they talk about God? How can we know we're all talking about the same thing?

Is Allah the same as Yahweh, or are they completely different? What can these similarities and differences tell us about the people who believe in these deities?

This online course will explore the belief in one god (monotheism) as expressed by religious traditions from across the globe. We'll dive into the hidden monotheism of Hinduism, the syncretic beliefs of the Bahá'í Faith, and the ethical unity of the Sikh religion.

We'll discover unexpected ideas about who and what God is, and ask questions about whether God is male, female, or something else altogether - maybe even you!

If you've ever felt bewildered by the vast and complex world of religion, and want to finally understand the language used by religious groups, this course is for you.

These online lessons can be studied in your own time, and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to avoid common misconceptions and engage thoughtfully with spiritual ideas from diverse backgrounds.

For a limited time only, you can pre-enrol at the discounted rate of £45 (regular price £65).

This is a fantastic opportunity to improve your knowledge with high quality and in-depth resources, alongside teaching by OCRS founder Luke Burns.

Course curriculum

  • 1
    Introduction and Survey (Part 1)
    • 1. Introduction: What is Monotheism?
    • 2. What makes a god?
    • 3. Bahá'í Faith: Bahá
    • 4. Christianity: The Holy Trinity
    • 5. Islam: Allah
    • 6. Judaism: Adonai
  • 2
    Survey (Part 2)
    • 7. Rastafari: Jah
    • 8. Shaivism: Shiva
    • 9. Shaktism: Adi Parashakti
    • 10. Sikhi: Ik Onkar
    • 11. Vaishnavism: Vishnu
    • 12. Zoroastrianism: Ahura Mazda
  • 3
    Conflicting Claims
    • 13. Christian Denominations
    • 14. Islam and the People of the Book
    • 15. Jews as God's Chosen People
    • 16. Interfaith Initiatives
    • 17. Syncretism and the Bahá'í Faith
    • 18. Hindu Sampradayas
  • 4
    Meeting God
    • 19. Seeing God: Hindu Darshana
    • 20. Encounters with YHWH in the Bible
    • 21. Spontaneous revelation: the watcher on the hills
    • 22. The God Helmet and other experiments
    • 23. Mushrooms, bike rides, and elves
    • 24. Through the narrow gate: austerities, deprivations, humility
  • 5
    The Nature of God (Part 1)
    • 25. Immanence and transcendence
    • 26. Plural identities: Elohim, Vishvarupa, Trinity
    • 27. Pantheism: are you God?
    • 28. Emotion, personality, and attributes
    • 29. Relationship with the world
    • 30. Time, space, and free will
  • 6
    The Nature of God (Part 2)
    • 31. Good and evil
    • 32. The problem of suffering
    • 33. Who created God?
    • 34. Gender and the Goddess
    • 35. Meaning, mystery, purpose
    • 36. Conclusion

Who's teaching?

  • Luke Burns

    Director, OCRS

    Luke Burns

    I have a keen interest in religion, spirituality, and the critical investigation of religious traditions from around the world. In 2016 I founded the Online Centre for Religious Studies, an organisation that aims to make religious studies accessible for a wide audience, without hiding anything behind specialist language. I was in part inspired by the way that open source programming documentation is often written in a clear, open, and friendly style, without sacrificing detail or meaning. I am currently an undergraduate student at the Open University, working towards a BA in Humanities with a focus on Religious Studies.


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