Religious Philosophies and the Meaning of Life

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All throughout history philosophers, politicians, and religious leaders have pondered the meaning of life. 20th century philosopher Albert Camus found that it Western society was far too focused on substance rather than understanding that it is the search for actualization or the process as opposed to the destination that provides the true meaning of life (Camus, 1942). Still others, Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, found that it was suffering in its literal sense, or the process of undergoing, that defined the meaning of life. This was the ultimate search for freedom and actualization intellectual and emotional satisfaction (Nietzsche, 2004). Taking this view further, it seems as if the 21st century as brought the challenge of overcoming one's base instincts and striving for more, ""to be any kind of a person, one's life must have a unity to it, the continuity and coherence which comes from constructing one's life as a work of art" (Young, 2003, 117). Karl Marx called religion the "opiate of the masses," in that it both numbs and comforts people, but really leaves them in a perpetual state of confusion and falsehoods. Yet it is primarily religion that humans turn to when facing questions about the meaning of life. It is interesting, too, that this idea of the meaning of life has ingrained in so very many parts of culture popular, spiritual, and philosophical. There was a full-screen movie called Monty Python's Meaning of Life that examined the question from a humorous
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