I studied religion in school. I recall all the stories about the prophets, the miracles, the messages they came carrying, the praying rituals and the sacred words. There were also stories about wars and peace treaties, murder and redemption, betrayal and valor; much similar to stories of the time we live in today. Then came rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts, redlines not to be crossed and permissible actions. There was a lot to remember; too many stories that stretched the realm of imagination; too many verses that challenged the scope of understanding; too many dates to remember and too many rituals to observe.
As I floated through the religion classes, life happened. New friends came, old ones gone; a broken bone once and a few times a broken heart; overwhelming moments of joy and others in sheer despair. It was then that I knew God. I would love to claim that it was the mind that knew first, but that wouldn’t be right. Much like falling in love, it was the heart that knew first. Faith, it seems, is a matter of the heart. So when an agnostic friend of mine starts debating with much rational questions and arguments, from wars waged in the name of God to murdered children, I jump with rational answers: it was man who did this, not God. When he challenges stories of miracles on a scientific basis, I refer to scientific discoveries mentioned in the old text. And then I realize that I probably sound like these religion classes to my agnostic friend, so focused on the mind when it’s a matter of the heart.
I have no answers for my dear friend. But I have an answer to my daughter’s question on where she can find God: in her heart.