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Postmodernist thought—broadly speaking—sees human nature as constructed by language, or by structures and institutions of human society. Unlike other forms of philosophy, postmodernism rarely seeks out a priori or innate meanings in human existence, but instead focuses on analyzing or critiquing given meanings in order to rationalize or reconstruct them. Anything resembling a "meaning of life", in postmodernist terms, can only be understood within a social and linguistic framework, and must be pursued as an escape from the power structures that are already embedded in all forms of speech and interaction.

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As a rule, postmodernists see awareness of the constraints of language as necessary to escaping those constraints, but different theorists take different views on the nature of this process: from radical reconstruction of meaning by individuals as in deconstructionism to theories in which individuals are primarily extensions of language and society, without real autonomy as in poststructuralism.

According to naturalistic pantheism , the meaning of life is to care for and look after nature and the environment. Embodied cognition uses the neurological basis of emotion, speech, and cognition to understand the nature of thought. Cognitive neuropsychology has identified brain areas necessary for these abilities, and genetic studies show that the gene FOXP2 affects neuroplasticity which underlies language fluency. George Lakoff , a professor of cognitive linguistics and philosophy, advances the view that metaphors are the usual basis of meaning, not the logic of verbal symbol manipulation.

Post modern philosophies that use the indeterminacy of symbolic language to deny definite meaning ignore those who feel they know what they mean and feel that their interlocutors know what they mean. The Mohist philosophers believed that the purpose of life was universal, impartial love. Mohism promoted a philosophy of impartial caring—a person should care equally for all other individuals, regardless of their actual relationship to him or her.

This advocacy of impartiality was a target of attack by the other Chinese philosophical schools, most notably the Confucians who believed that while love should be unconditional, it should not be indiscriminate. For example, children should hold a greater love for their parents than for random strangers. Confucianism recognizes human nature in accordance with the need for discipline and education.

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Because humankind is driven by both positive and negative influences, Confucianists see a goal in achieving virtue through strong relationships and reasoning as well as minimizing the negative. This emphasis on normal living is seen in the Confucianist scholar Tu Wei-Ming 's quote, "we can realize the ultimate meaning of life in ordinary human existence. The Legalists believed that finding the purpose of life was a meaningless effort. To the Legalists, only practical knowledge was valuable, especially as it related to the function and performance of the state.

The religious perspectives on the meaning of life are those ideologies which explain life in terms of an implicit purpose not defined by humans. This is not to reduce the commentary's importance, and Armstrong considers that its study, interpretation and ritual are the means by which religious people internalize and live the golden rule.

In the Judaic world view, the meaning of life is to elevate the physical world 'Olam HaZeh' and prepare it for the world to come ' Olam HaBa ' , the messianic era. This is called Tikkun Olam "Fixing the World".

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Olam HaBa can also mean the spiritual afterlife, and there is debate concerning the eschatological order. However, Judaism is not focused on personal salvation, but on communal between man and man and individual between man and God spiritualised actions in this world. Judaism's most important feature is the worship of a single, incomprehensible, transcendent , one, indivisible, absolute Being , who created and governs the universe.

Closeness with the God of Israel is through study of His Torah , and adherence to its mitzvot divine laws.

In traditional Judaism, God established a special covenant with a people, the people of Israel, at Mount Sinai , giving the Jewish commandments. Torah comprises the written Pentateuch and the transcribed oral tradition , further developed through the generations. The Jewish people are intended as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" [95] and a " light to the Nations ", influencing the other peoples to keep their own religio-ethical Seven Laws of Noah.

The messianic era is seen as the perfection of this dual path to God. Jewish observances involve ethical and ritual, affirmative and prohibitive injunctions. Modern Jewish denominations differ over the nature, relevance and emphases of mitzvot. Jewish philosophy emphasises that God is not affected or benefited, but the individual and society benefit by drawing close to God. The rationalist Maimonides sees the ethical and ritual divine commandments as a necessary, but insufficient preparation for philosophical understanding of God, with its love and awe.

The Jewish mystical Kabbalah gives complementary esoteric meanings of life. As well as Judaism providing an immanent relationship with God personal theism , in Kabbalah the spiritual and physical creation is a paradoxical manifestation of the immanent aspects of God's Being panentheism , related to the Shekhinah Divine feminine. Jewish observance unites the sephirot Divine attributes on high, restoring harmony to creation. In Lurianic Kabbalah , the meaning of life is the messianic rectification of the shattered sparks of God's persona, exiled in physical existence the Kelipot shells , through the actions of Jewish observance.

Christianity has its roots in Judaism, and shares much of the latter faith's ontology. Its central beliefs derive from the teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. Life's purpose in Christianity is to seek divine salvation through the grace of God and intercession of Christ John The New Testament speaks of God wanting to have a relationship with humans both in this life and the life to come, which can happen only if one's sins are forgiven John —21; 2 Peter In the Christian view, humankind was made in the Image of God and perfect, but the Fall of Man caused the progeny of the first Parents to inherit Original Sin and its consequences.

Christ's passion , death and resurrection provide the means for transcending that impure state Romans The good news that this restoration from sin is now possible is called the gospel. The specific process of appropriating salvation through Christ and maintaining a relationship with God varies between different denominations of Christians, but all rely on faith in Christ and the gospel as the fundamental starting point.

Salvation through faith in God is found in Ephesians —9 — " [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [9] not as a result of works, that no one should boast" NASB ; The gospel maintains that through this belief, the barrier that sin has created between man and God is destroyed, thereby allowing God to regenerate change the believer and instill in them a new heart after God's own will with the ability to live righteously before him.

This is what the terms Born again or saved almost always refer to. The answer is: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever". God requires one to obey the revealed moral law, saying: "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself".

The Apostle Paul also answers this question in his speech on the Areopagus in Athens : "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

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Catholicism 's way of thinking is better expressed through the Principle and Foundation of St. Ignatius of Loyola : "The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul. All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.

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It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end. To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition. Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

Mormonism teaches that the purpose of life on Earth is to gain knowledge and experience and to have joy. Mormons teach that God provided his children the choice to come to Earth, which is considered a crucial stage in their development—wherein a mortal body, coupled with the freedom to choose, makes for an environment to learn and grow.

A recent alternative Christian theological discourse interprets Jesus as revealing that the purpose of life is to elevate our compassionate response to human suffering; [] nonetheless, the conventional Christian position is that people are justified by belief in the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross. In Islam , humanity's ultimate purpose is to discover their creator Allah English: The God through His signs, and be grateful to Him through sincere love and devotion. This is practically shown by following the Divine guidelines revealed in the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet.

Earthly life is a test, determining one's position of closeness to Allah in the hereafter. For Allah's satisfaction, via the Qur'an, all Muslims must believe in God, his revelations, his angels , his messengers , and in the " Day of Judgment ". Obedience testifies to the oneness of God in his lordship, his names, and his attributes. Terrenal life is a test; how one acts behaves determines whether one's soul goes to Jannat Heaven or to Jahannam Hell.

The Five Pillars of Islam are duties incumbent to every Muslim; they are: Shahadah profession of faith ; salat ritual prayer ; Zakah charity ; Sawm fasting during Ramadan , and Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The five pillars are not mentioned directly in the Quran. Beliefs differ among the Kalam.


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The Sunni and the Ahmadiyya concept of pre-destination is divine decree ; [] likewise, the Shi'a concept of pre-destination is divine justice ; in the esoteric view of the Sufis , the universe exists only for God's pleasure; Creation is a grand game, wherein Allah is the greatest prize.

The Sufi view of the meaning of life stems from the hadith qudsi that states "I God was a Hidden Treasure and loved to be known. Therefore I created the Creation that I might be known. Human beings are viewed as intrinsically spiritual beings. People's lives in this material world provide extended opportunities to grow, to develop divine qualities and virtues, and the prophets were sent by God to facilitate this.

Hinduism is a religious category including many beliefs and traditions. Since Hinduism was the way of expressing meaningful living for a long time, before there was a need for naming it as a separate religion, Hindu doctrines are supplementary and complementary in nature, generally non-exclusive, suggestive and tolerant in content. In all schools of Hinduism, the meaning of life is tied up in the concepts of karma causal action , sansara the cycle of birth and rebirth , and moksha liberation. Particular goals for life are generally subsumed under broader yogas practices or dharma correct living which are intended to create more favorable reincarnations, though they are generally positive acts in this life as well.

Traditional schools of Hinduism often worship Devas which are manifestations of Ishvara a personal or chosen God ; these Devas are taken as ideal forms to be identified with, as a form of spiritual improvement. In short, the goal is to realize the fundamental truth about oneself. Later schools reinterpreted the vedas to focus on Brahman , "The One Without a Second", [] as a central God-like figure.

Dvaita Vedanta and other bhakti schools have a dualist interpretation. Brahman is seen as a supreme being with a personality and manifest qualities. Vaishnavism is a branch of Hinduism in which the principal belief is the identification of Vishnu or Narayana as the one supreme God.

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This belief contrasts with the Krishna-centered traditions, such as Vallabha , Nimbaraka and Gaudiya , in which Krishna is considered to be the One and only Supreme God and the source of all avataras. Vaishnava theology includes the central beliefs of Hinduism such as monotheism , reincarnation , samsara , karma , and the various Yoga systems, but with a particular emphasis on devotion bhakti to Vishnu through the process of Bhakti yoga , often including singing Vishnu's name's bhajan , meditating upon his form dharana and performing deity worship puja.

In this, Krishna is worshipped as the single true God, and all living entities are eternal parts and the Supreme Personality of the Godhead Krishna.