The Seven Basic Questions of Human Existence: The great religions of the world have been around so long and have gathered adherents in each new generation because they provide answers for most, if not all, of these questions. Though often stated in many different ways, these are the fundamental questions that most people wrestle with in trying to find meaning and purpose in life.
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- Who or what is the numinous in each tradition? What qualities are inherent in the numinous and how is the numinous revealed to or understood by humans?
- What is a person’s relationship to the numinous? In what ways are we like or unlike the numinous, how do we interact with the numinous, and what influence does the numinous have on our lives?
- Where do evil and suffering come from? How does the religion in question deal with the problem of “Theodicy”; why evil and suffering exist and how people can deal with, escape, transcend, overcome, or endure them? Another way to state this question would be in the context of salvation, deliverance, or release.
- What is the purpose of life and creation? What are the meaning, value, and reason for human life and the existence of all creation? Is there some inherent value or given value for the existence of reality and of life?
- What is the origin of the cosmos? Where did people come from and why were they created, formed, or evolved? What is the purpose or value of the universe?
- What happens to people after this life? Do we cease to exist or is there an afterlife? Does that afterlife involve punishment or reward or cycles of reincarnation?
- How does the religion in question create a social order? What does it tell us about who we are and what we should be like? How are we to relate to others? What is of value in society and what is the value of life, both human and other?