Call to read 'meaning of life' book

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The meaning of life can be deciphered by flicking through the pages of a 400-year-old book, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In his annual New Year message for 2011, which had been pre-recorded for the BBC, Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams urged people from all faiths, along with those who do not identify with any particular religion, to take a close look at the King James Bible.

First published as a standard English Bible in 1611, the 400-year-old story of the universe "can still move and even shock us", Dr Williams says.

"Things move on but it's good for us to have some long-lasting furniture in our minds, words and images that have something a bit mysterious about them and that carry important experiences for us that we can't find words of our own for," he says.

To help make sense of their lives, the Archbishop urges people to ensure that some kind of "big picture" matters for them, regardless of their beliefs.

He says: "When we try to make sense of our lives and of who we really are, it helps to have a strongly defined story, a big picture of some kind in the background."

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