As I Christian I had a clear answer to all of these. I was told I was created in order to serve and worship g-d. My purpose on earth was to bring others to Christ.
The Bible is crystal clear: God created us for his glory. Thus says the Lord, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isa. 43:6–7). Life is wasted when we do not live for the glory of God. And I mean all of life. It is all for his glory. That is why the Bible gets down into the details of eating and drinking. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). We waste our lives when we do not weave God into our eating and drinking and every other part by enjoying and displaying him.John Piper
I was told the only way I could find happiness and joy was through Christianity. I would find peace through worship of g-d and through following the commands of the scriptures.
I was also told that this was the only true way to have happiness in this life. I was told without g-d we have no purpose or joy. And a life lived without g-d is meaningless. I was even recently reminded of this in a conversation with my ex-pastor. He mentioned an unsaved family member, and how their life is meaningless without g-d.
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. It is not simply a way to “enhance” your walk with the Lord. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your “faith” cannot please God. It is not saving faith. Saving faith is the confidence that if you sell all you have and forsake all sinful pleasures, the hidden treasure of holy joy will satisfy your deepest desires.John Piper
It is true that fallen people can do much good of a moral, social, and cultural nature. They can show love to family, perform acts of kindness, produce great works of art, and make major contributions to civic welfare. However, apart from regeneration by the Spirit, they cannot do these activities to the glory of God. Nor, as a consequence, can they share the exultant joy of the psalmists in the wonders of God’s works (Psalms 19, 145, 147, 148)Robert Letham “Worse Than We Think”
Yes, I realize two of these quotes are from John Piper. But he does a good job of summing up the theology I was taught as a child. My parents read his books and my pastor followed him closely as well.
Even after salvation, as a Christian the focus was often on the eternal rather than the present. You had to be “storing up treasures in heaven” or you would live your eternal life in regret. The idea was that you would be rewarded according to the things you did for g-d in this present life.
For some people the object of g-d and religion are helpful to them. But for me all of these “answers” failed to bring peace or meaning to my life. I was suppose to find peace and joy in serving g-d. Instead I found guilt, shame, depression, and anxiety.
Now I chose to not know the answers to these questions. Do I know what happens after death? No, but does anyone honestly know the answer to this. Do I have a answer for someone when they ask “What is my purpose in life?” No, I do not. I think we each make our meaning for ourselves in life, and that is something only the individual can answer.
I’m still working to overcome my guilt, shame, depression, and anxiety as I go through life. For me it’s helped to leave behind concept’s like original sin, hell, and the afterlife as a whole. I’m trying to stop and stand still and enjoy the now and not focus on the eternal.
For me what matters is how we treat and act towards others around us in the here and now. Stopping to show each other compassion may no longer be a biblical mandate for me. But I still see how showing others love and compassion is a kind and right thing for me to do, and anything that intentionally causes pain to another being should be avoided.
Servitude to a divine being may be, for others, a source of joy; but it was not for me.
If we want joy all we have to do is stop and look around us. Joy is here. Just stop and look for it. I find it in my children, in the beautify of nature, and in “her” as she goes throughout the day. Just take a breath, stop, and listen to the world around you.