California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interviews with Vincent, who is studying business management, near the University Student Union, and with Tania outside University Hall at Cal State San Marcos on November 18, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Vincent: Yes. I follow family cultures, go to temples every single week. I’m Buddhist.
Do you believe in a higher power?
Vincent: Not necessarily. Just being relaxed, staying meditated in your day-to-day life. I go every weekend just to stay relaxed and take a deep breath.
If someone asked you why you’re a Buddhist, what would you say?
Vincent: Just honestly family. I grew up in Vietnam originally so I’m just following the day-to-day cultures of my family, my grandma and grandpa, my mom and dad.
If someone asked you why they should become Buddhist, what would you say?
Vincent: If you watch the movies or the day to day news you’ll see violent crimes, shootings and robberies, criminals and stuff like that. I would just say in general that religion is a lot about peace and meditation and following yourself and finding yourself. So you shouldn’t have anyone to tell you to do something, just be yourself. It’s like inner energy. Like, this is you.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Vincent: Yes, it’s reincarnation for Buddhism. I think the main part of reincarnation is: how you treat yourselves and others in your real life today is like what happens afterwards in reincarnation. Because it’s obviously about if you maybe if you did something bad, you’ll be reincarnated into something bad. And if you were doing a good life, then you would be reincarnated into something better. It’s like the school shootings that just happened last week – if they were to be reincarnated, that’s a bad life because you just shot like 15 people and killed like eight people. If you were doing a good life, you’re not doing anything physically harmful to other people and then you were just following yourself.
How do you decide what’s good and what’s bad?
Vincent: Our day-to-day philosophy that we follow is like, so let’s say I was giving $5 to a homeless person because I felt bad for them and I wanted them to get a meal for the day or something like that. That’s good because we’re not looking for recognition, we’re helping people out instead of killing a family.
Do you think abortion is good or bad?
Vincent: I honestly just think it’s based off the person’s mindset because different people have different mindsets on what’s good and what’s bad. Like, do they think it’s good or do they think it’s bad. Because there could be people in the world that are just like, “a school shooting is great.” There’s people that believe that kind of stuff and then there’s people who just think that’s god-awful, which it is to our senses. Honestly, the topic of abortion is a weird topic to talk about just because you are killing a baby because you couldn’t handle the situation.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Tania: Kind of. I think that God is real. I go to church sometimes. It’s like a Roman Christian Church.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Tania: Well, my family believes it, and everyone near me believes in it.
Do you think there’s evidence for the existence of God?
Tania: Yeah, in the Bible. I think the Bible came from the people that knew Jesus Christ and God.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Tania: He’s the person that saved us.
What do you think about abortion?
Tania: I think it depends on the people, if they want to. It’s their choice. I think it should be allowed.
What if somebody said the baby should have a choice too?
Tania: That’s kind of difficult. I can’t think of anything.
If you enjoyed this story, consider making a donation to support Mary Rose and the Inquiring Minds column, so that we can continue to provide this insight into the religious beliefs of California college students. You can do so by visiting our Donation Page.