Unit 7.1: The God idea

Key Question: How has the idea of belief in God developed?

About this unit

This unit of work is an introductory unit on how the idea of religion has developed and to introduce key terms and theological ideas (Aquinas and Paley) to students including a recap of the importance of symbolism in religion.

It will enable students to explore a range of beliefs about God and to consider the questions What is religion?  What is belief?  It will also enable students to investigate faith responses to the ultimate question Is there a God?

Resources: optical illusions, story of the blind men and the elephant, true tube, you tube, religious texts, texts on world religions

RE Learning Cycle
Unit 7.1: The God idea
Programme of study Teaching and learning outcomes (AT1) Teaching and learning outcomes (AT2)
Beliefs & Practices

explore a range of beliefs and teachings

explain why there may be different beliefs and ideas about who or what God is like.

interpret and evaluate the significance of sources of wisdom and authority for faith members
Identity and Values

consider the questions:
What is religion?  What is belief?

analyse and  interpret claims made by different religions and worldviews

students should be able to express their ideas about religions and examine questions about religion and spirituality
Meaning and Purpose

investigate faith responses to ultimate questions, moral and ethical issues

consider and compare the ways in which people of faith respond to the ultimate question Is there a God?

students compare their responses to the ultimate question Is there a God? with those of faith members


Students consider what they believe about God and share their different ideas.  What do they expect to learn in RE?

Cave Art, Animism – totem poles, Mayans; Day of the Dead, pictures of something that make you go wow, images of God, Schrödinger’s Cat, timeline of world religions, considering good versus evil, optical illusions, create a symbol for me, create a murti for me, story of the blind men
and the elephant

What do people believe about God?

Why do people believe in God? How have beliefs in God changed throughout history?

What are the different philosophical arguments for believing in God?

Why do different groups within a religion have different ideas about what God is like?

What is religion?

What is belief? 

What is the difference between belief and fact?

What is a symbol?

Why do religions use symbols?

What do symbols tell us about religious beliefs in God? 

How do people show their beliefs in God?

Use a range of pictures of God to stimulate discussion as to what God is like.

Students share what they think God is like.

Research the Big Bang Theory, TrueTube video www.truetube.co.uk/film/proving-god-exists, YouTube  Day of the Dead www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSJJi8WH9EY,  

The God Idea What Buddhists Believe Written by Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda

Investigate the religious beliefs about God of two or more faiths: are beliefs distinctive to a particular faith?

Consider the ways in which symbols and artefacts enhance the religious and spiritual expression for a believer.

Consider what inspires and influences me.

Using the passage ‘The God Idea’ summarise how the idea of God developed from Animism to Monotheism.  

Using optical illusions sheets where students can see different images in the same pictures.  Discuss how and why people have different views about God. Analysis the story of the 5 blind men and the elephant. Students find a picture of something that makes them go wow.

Use www.truetube.co.uk/film/proving-god-exists  to understand what is meant by the argument from design and the cosmological argument.

Create a timeline for the development of world religions.

Look at cave art, totem poles etc. to discover what early man believed about God.

Use Schrödinger’s Cat to demonstrate the meaning of belief.

Use www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSJJi8WH9EYto understand what the Day of the Dead is about.

Use a Bible and other sacred texts to discover what different religions believe about God.

Explain the terms sacred, religion and belief.

Respond to the key questions – What is sacred? What is religion? What do we mean by belief? How are beliefs expressed?

Demonstrate an understanding of key words: animism, polytheism, monotheism, theist, atheist, agnostic, sceptic

Share ‘wow’ pictures or moments with class and explain why they make you go ‘wow’.

Evaluate the argument from design and the cosmological argument and give the counter arguments.  

Debate the arguments for believing in God or prepare a legal argument for the belief in God and hold a mock court case.

Create a presentation about people’s different beliefs in God.

Role play or hot spot different religious beliefs about God.

Talk about how Mayan human sacrifice may be linked to the sacrifice made by Jesus.

Summarise the ways in which symbols and artefacts help people of faith communicate their beliefs.

Create a symbol or create a murti to include symbolism that explains something about themselves.

Using creative media make something that explains what the 'Day of the Dead' is about.

Students compare their responses to the ultimate question "Is there a God?" with those of faith members using creative media

Reflect on the awe and wonder engendered by ‘wow’ pictures or moments.


Highlighted text indicates how this unit contributes to overall End of Key Stage attainment.

 AT1 (Knowledge & Understanding) AT2 (Reflection & Response)
Consider and evaluate the questions: What is religion? and What is belief?
Analyse the nature of religion, using a range of approaches  including debate, research, media, presentations

Respond to some of the ultimate questions that are raised by human life. Make well-informed and reasoned personal responses to ultimate questions and express insights that draw on a wide range of examples including the arts, media and philosophy.


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