Spiritual (and non) Traditions

In our model, a human figure stands upon a ground of available meaning and purpose, formed by the 4 cornerstones. This symbolizes the reality that we live in.

The figure looks up to the sky, searching for the context of it all. These ‘stars in our eyes’ are our wonderings (or sense of certainty) about what’s behind it all. These faith-based questions have been responded to in time by people and cultures in the forms of stories, philosophies, and religions.

These ‘stars’ absorb us with the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’. This outer context asserts itself, and although it can be valuable, it can distract us from the question ‘How can I create meaning in life?’, especially if our spiritual beliefs are more imposed than crafted/adopted personally.

The purpose of the site is to provide you with tools and insight for creating meaning in life, and achieving a sense of purpose and joy.
This page, however, gives you insight into the faiths that inform that other, “of“, framing.

We have boiled down the basic details of the most popular world religions for you to learn about. Each page also provides a collection of links, books and videos for further exploration.

As you learn about these various spiritual traditions, we encourage to keep in mind a few things:

  • All of these involve faith. That is, none of them are irrefutably provable against the others. They make claims about the very nature of reality, which you may adopt by choice, be it wholly rational or not .
  • Discover! Much can be obtained from studying the religions of the world by wielding a curious sense of Awe and Gratitude. No matter how you feel about the tenets of these beliefs, or even our reporting on them, they can inform you about our diverse human world. Religions are deeply embedded with culture.
  • Give us feedback. If you notice misconstrued facts, or even typos, let us know. We’re happy to look into it.

Joy in life brought by meaning and purpose is not contingent upon an “of” framing. Nevertheless, here is all that we can hope to share on the subject of faith.

Boundary Between "Of" and "In"

Where does one’s sense of meaning OF life and meaning IN life cross / interact?

If you do pursue a faith practice, meaning and purpose will still be created in your life via the 4 cornerstones. Your religious beliefs will inform and filter how you engage with each of them. For example, you may create meaning in life by going to church:

  • Showing/feeling Love from your friends and community
  • Serving others by helping during a service
  • Expressing yourself through worship and prayer
  • Refining your faith and knowledge of the practice as a form of Discovery

Understanding the difference can be crucial. If your spiritual practice deems it unacceptable to engage in Love of any kind, you may experience a lack on meaning and purpose in that way.

Source: Richard Johnson / The National Post

Source: Wikipedia / World Christian Encyclopedia

More Resources

Belief Net has many resources for understanding belief that supplement this site well. Try their “Belief O Matic”

The BBC has a quality breakdown of the world’s religions, with gathered resources and explanations similar to our site.

You can also check out:

  • A Time article on why some people are more religious than others.
  • An active discussion on what it would be like in A World Without Religion.
  • An Outside Online article titled “We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of it is Nonsense.” which has this insightful snippet about faith and meaning:
    • Organized religion is on the decline in America, especially for younger people. The 2018 American Family Survey, conducted by Deseret News in Utah, found that “for millennials and GenXers, the most common religion is no religion at all.” This may not be problematic in itself, but for centuries, religion served as a driving purpose for many people. When nothing fills this vacuum, the effect can be a negative one. A study published earlier this year in JAMA Network Openfound that people without a strong life purpose—defined as a sense of feeling rooted in your life and taking actions toward meaningful goals—were more than twice as likely to die between the years of the study (2006 to 2010) compared with people who had one, even after controlling for things like gender, race, wealth, and education level. Speaking to NPR, Celeste Leigh Pearce, one of the authors of the study, said, “I approached this [study] with a very skeptical eye, [but] I just find it so convincing that I’m developing a whole research program around it.” Alan Rozanski, a cardiology professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City, says that purpose is “the deepest driver of well-being there is.”