Concept Mind about Religion

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What is a Concept Map?

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Concept map example using hand drawing about time management

A concept map provides a visual diagram of a complex system of interrelated ideas. You start with the main idea (in our case, the idea is the concept of RELIGION). Then you brainstorm sub-concepts of ever smaller levels and connect these ideas with lines to show how they are all interrelated.

Concept mapping is a great tool to use as you read a text book and try to make sense out of all the new information you are learning, connecting ideas and building more complexity to the main idea as you go along.It is also a good way to synthesize all that you have learned, grouping related ideas and putting the pieces together.

This is what you are being tasked with doing toward the end of your study in this course. But you might want to begin the process early and gradually build (add to) your concept map as you learn. You can continually adjust and readjust it as you go on with your learning.

You can choose to create your concept map in several ways:

  • By hand (using poster board and markers)video example (Links to an external site.)
  • Combine a hand drawn map with images cut from magazines or other print resources
  • Use drawing tools on your computer (e.g. PowerPoint – just a single slide, please)

Use online tools:


1. Your concept map for this class will start with the main idea: “RELIGION” or “Religion Is…” or the question: “What Is Religion?” (this is the text that you should put in the central or top bubble of your concept map).

2. Base your concept map on what you have learned about religion in this course, to reflect Ninian Smart’s “Seven dimensions” (Links to an external site.) of religion (the major topics for each week of study, of each chapter in the text or video lectures). These should be the major topics in your map.

3. Be sure to expand on these major topics with sub-topics and then branch out even further for several minor sub-topics, creating smaller levels or bubbles, each connected to the others in a logically related way. Finally, you should include some specific examples (in words and/or images) from various religions to illustrate or otherwise represent the various aspects of religion.

4. Remember, religion is a complex system where no one “dimension” of religion stands alone. So don’t forget to show connecting and cross-linking lines to demonstrate the multiple ways that these various ideas all combine as a part of the main idea of what RELIGION is. The lines may have a few connecting phrases as needed (e.g. “…related to a…” or “…as found in…”) but avoid use of complete sentences in any one bubble or line. (a concept map is an image of an idea – a visual tool).

for example:the “mythic/narrative dimension” of religion (a major category in your map) might include reference to the sacred texts (a sub-topic) of religions. Examples of this would be the Bible or the Quran. Then there would be other sub-topics such as the different kinds of stories (be they found in written or just oral form). And you can then provide specific examples of each kind of story from various of the world’s religions. However, sacred texts (the books themselves rather than reference to the content) might also be a minor sub-topic under the “material dimension” of religion. So you’d need a line to “cross-link” the same minor topic between two major topics. Think about what else might also be based on the sacred texts that can further cross-link to yet a third or even forth major category (moral codes, for instance).

5. Also use color and images to enhance the visual appeal of your map. Color can also help to distinguish the various major topics or levels within your map.

6. This can easily get overly complex and confusing to look at, so try to arrive at a suitable balance between being comprehensive yet in a well organized and clear presentation.

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