Atheism & Religion: The Nones (Upper-Intermediate Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Advanced (C1/C2)
Lesson Topics: religion, atheism, spirituality
Skill Focus: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: atheism-nones-upper-intermediate-lesson-102023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students read a 432-word passage based on a longer report entitled "The Nones" by AP News. The passage discusses atheism in different regions of the world. Note that, overall, the passage presents a negative view of religion; please only use this lesson plan if it is suitable for your students.
  • After a read-and-recall activity, students answer comprehension questions, do a vocabulary-matching activity, and then create questions using the new vocabulary.
  • The first speaking activity is a debate on either the topic of creationism or the overall impact of religious practices. Next, students are presented with two roleplays. The first involves a newcomer who is experiencing culture shock in a religious culture, and the second is about a believer who is beginning to doubt his/her faith.
  • Next, students complete some trivia about religions around the world.
  • After a final vocabulary review, the lesson closes with final discussion questions and a review of collocations.

Stained glass windows with religious figures

Caution: Overall, this lesson and the article it summarizes present a critical view of religion. Only use this lesson with students who would be comfortable discussing the disadvantages of theism.

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE (B2/C1) Lesson Plan on Atheism & Religion

Warm-up Questions

  1. Do you come from a religious family?
  2. Would you say that your home country is religious?
  3. How many religions can you name? Make a list with your partners.
  4. Match the below words to their definitions. Then discuss which word best describes you.
1.     theist

2.     atheist

3.     agnostic

a.     a person who believes that there is no God

b.     a person who believes in the existence of God or gods

c.     a person who believes it is not possible to know whether God exists or not

Membership is required to view this post. Please support EnglishCurrent by becoming a member today. Members, please log in.

-- Lesson plan on Atheism & Religion written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT was used to check and generate answer keys. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Possible answers to follow-up questions:

  1. Some academics worry that non-religious people might lose an important source of community connection and support.
  2. Youths today don't want to hear about church, viewing it as an ancient thing that's useless.
  3. Federica Nobile distanced herself from the church to overcome the deep-rooted fear of hell that she had been taught in her devout family.
  4. The Tunisian woman likely leads a life where she hides her non-belief or skepticism towards religion to avoid conflict, while potentially expressing her true beliefs only in trusted circles or online communities.
  5. After the Arab Spring movement in 2011 failed to bring new freedoms, he decided to move to Norway.
  6. He says this because in Buddhism, there is no belief in a god who is the creator of the universe.

Vocabulary Answers1-e, 2-j, 3-a, 4-f, 5-d, 6-b, 7-i, 8-h, 9-c, 10-g

[Trivia answers: Christianity, Hinduism, Francis, Nepal, Tao Te Ching, Torah, Ramadan]

Vocabulary Review Answers: See original passage

Collocation Answers: 1-e, 2-g, 3-d, 4-c, 5-a, 6-f, 7-b


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *