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Part 6: Faith, Purpose and Meaning in Life

Why does the world exist?
Is there more to the world than what is available through our senses?
What is the meaning and purpose of life, including my life?
What happens to me when I die?

As you can see, there are several areas of your personal philosophy that come under this heading. A major one is religious faith. You may adhere to a particular religion and at this stage of My Personal Philosophy all you need do is put down what this is and summarise the core belief(s) or essence of your religion. (Don't worry - there is plenty of space in My Personal Philosophy for you to go into more detail about what you draw from your religious faith.) It may help you to do this if you imagine a conversation with someone who first asks you, 'Are you religious?' If your answer is 'Yes', the next question is 'What is your religion?' and you respond, 'I am a ---'. The person then asks, 'As a --- what do you believe?'

You may adhere strictly to the teachings of your religion or you may have your own interpretations, some of which may not be considered 'orthodox'.

When asked if they are religious, many people say, 'No' but they may still have certain beliefs that they share with people who do have a religious faith. If this applies to you, may find it helpful to first summarise your core belief(s) as indicated in the first paragraph. You then give some further details about your beliefs. For example, if you do not describe yourself as a religious person, you may still believe in some kind of 'spiritual presence', 'life force (or energy)' or some purpose behind your existence. You may believe in some form of afterlife or reincarnation. Some people believe there are spiritual entities such as angels (including guardian angels), fairies, genies, and demons. You may have your own way of praying and believe in its power. You may consider that Nature itself has spiritual qualities.

In contrast, you may not believe in the existence of any god or gods or any spiritual entity, force, energy or influence in the world. If so, it is still important to keep your main focus on what you do believe, rather than just on what you do not believe. Once again you, may find it helpful to first summarise your core belief(s) as indicate in the first paragraph above.

At some point in this section, you will include what you believe is your fate when you die. There are many different beliefs about this. You may believe that when you die you will be judged according to the life you have led and either Heaven or Hell awaits you. You may wish to say something about what you believe about 'Heaven' and 'Hell'. Or you may believe in a spirit world (what does this mean to you?) and, perhaps, the possibility of communication between the living and dead. Another belief is reincarnation (including having lived one or more previous lives). Or you may believe that you only have one life and when you die there is nothing else to follow.

You only need write what is important to your personal philosophy.

It may be that some of the contents here are not significant issues for you; for example, you may consider that we can never know what happens when we die, so this is not something that you need think about.

As always, allow yourself plenty of time to think about this, jotting down notes if this helps. When you feel ready you can start writing it up in the appropriate section. Remember, this is always about you and is not a prescription for what other people should believe. Remember also that it is always a work in progress, to be amended and updated as and when experiences in your everyday life call for this.

When you are ready, go to your 'My Personal Philosophy' record and begin writing up your beliefs under the heading 'What I believe about faith, purpose and meaning in life'. You don't have to write very much about this at this stage unless you want to expand on your beliefs (you can do this later): a short statement may be all you need at present.

When you have written as much as you wish, and when you are ready to resume, return to 'Part 3: Setting Off' and choose your next part.

Return to Part 1: What it's all about