Year 11 General Unit 1, Mod 1 - Meaning and Purpose in Life

Searching for meaning and finding answers through religion

Meaning and Purpose in Life



People search for meaning and purpose in many different ways. Often the search for meaning is prompted by important life events such as birth or death. The questions people have and the search they undertake can lead them to religion. Through religion many people find answers to their questions and choose to follow a religious way of life. 

Key Terms

  • Meaning and purpose;

  • Life experiences;

  • Search for meaning;

  • Questions of the human heart; 

  • Personal mystery;

  • Being religious &

  • Conscience 

Focus Questions

  • What experiences prompt people to look for meaning in their life?

  • What questions do such experiences prompt?

  • What are some answers to the questions people ask about the meaning of life?

  • What are some religious answers?

  • What are some answers a particular religion offers?

  • What are some useful sources for learning about how and why people search for meaning?

  • What techniques help identify and organise relevant information from these sources? 

Focus Areas

The Search for Meaning

  • People search for and find meaning in life in many different ways; some find answers in religion
  • Prompted by important life events people question the meaning and purpose of their lives.
  • Three types of experiences that prompt questioning:
    • experiences of the created world
    • encountering and relating with others
    • discovering the mystery of one's self.
  • Important events also stir a range of important questions:
    • birth
    • development into adulthood
    • marriage
    • death.
  • When people seek, search and think about the meaning of life and the reality of God they are being religious. 

Religious Answers

  • Religious answers deal with the mystery of life.

  • Different religions provide answers such as:

    • why do people suffer?

    • what is the significance of birth?

    • how should people relate to each other?

    • what does marriage mean?

    • how should one live, what does death mean?

  • For Christians, Jesus is the answer. Understanding what this answer means, and how this relates to different experiences, requires some appreciation of who Jesus is and why he is important for Christians.