The Baltimore Catechism says:

"God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next."

Many Catholics have this ingrained in their brains, even if they've forgotten the other 500 things in the Catechism.

What do all other denominations who have catechisms (i.e. Westminster Catechism) consider the meaning of life to be in their catechisms?

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    This may be too broad for the community; indeed, this is an abstract philosophical question. Even though the Q requires other established, doctrinal positions, it would require intense research, and interpretation. Interesting question though. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 4:45
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    @Abstractioniseverything. I just want an answer from published catechisms. This is more-or-less an experiment to see if a few rules can improve overview questions. christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6499/…
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 4:56

3 Answers 3


According to the Book of Mormon, the purpose of life to find joy:

2 Nephi 2:25

Men are, that they might have joy

By nature, humans are miserable creatures:

Mosiah 3:19

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Jesus said that we can find joy through obtaining and living the gospel:

John 7:17, AMP

If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority.

Mosiah 2:41 also teaches the same thing:

The blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness

In summary, the purpose of life is to have joy. The only way to have meaningful joy is to obtain and live the gospel.

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    – agarza
    Commented Jan 8 at 4:28

The Westminster shorter catechism states:

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. To glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

The Heidelberg Catechism takes a more somber view of man and tackles the question as a follow up

Q. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?

A. No. God created them good and in his own image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.

It was a little difficult to find this is Luther's Small Catechism, but I believe

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. What does this mean?

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; ... out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true

Most closely answers the question (although there is a lot of stuff in the middle that seems difficult to memorize)

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    I made this a CW because it certainly not complete, but is a good example of what I'd like in an answer. And I got a little bored reading the Racovian Catechism (no offense to Racovians, but your catechism is boring)
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 5:42
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    @abstraction my ideal answer would have as many catechisms from the larger denominations (living and dead) as possible, especially ones never previously translated from German. I could occasionally revisit this and add more answers when appropriate. Or if someone else could independently develop a stellar answer, I'd probably delete this one.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 14:16

The Dutch catholic school catechism opens with (translated as good as I can)

Why are we on earth?

We are on earth so serve God and by doing so be happy here and hereafter

The Dutch protestant churches, at least the more orthodox calvinist churches, use the Three Forms of Unity, among which the Heidelberg quoted before. The other two forms:

The Dutch Creed:

We believe God created man from the dust of the earth, and has made and formed him in His image and likeliness, good, just and holy; able with his will to be like God’s will in everything.

(Not really a purpose, but the closest I could find)

The teachings of Dordrecht:

Not entirely the meaning of life either, but at least close. And only relevant for a selected group, the believers chosen to be saved:

… the will of God […] He has chosen us before eternity, both to grace and splendor (May be translated wrong), to salvation and the road to salvation, which He prepared, so we would walk in it.

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