California Catholic reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Margarita Martinez, who is studying industrial engineering, behind the Cal Poly Pomona University Library on April 15, 2019. 

Mary Rose, California Catholic Daily: Do you consider yourself religious?

Margarita: Not really. I go to church, I just don’t consider myself too religious.

Why do you go to church?

Margarita: I don’t know. I grew up going to church, so I think it was just, you get used to it. But also I like going. Sometimes when I go to church I feel closer to God. I feel happier, like in a happier place, just a better state of mind. Just sometimes I don’t really go to church. Honestly I don’t really like going to church here – I am Catholic, or I consider myself to be Catholic – because it lasts way too long. I think that if it were not to last so long –  I know it sounds dumb. When I go to church in Mexico, Mass there is 45 minutes, an hour. They don’t take forever just doing the announcements at the end, like 20 minutes. It’s not like that. And when they collect for the diocese it doesn’t take forever. It goes by way faster. That’s another reason why I don’t like to go to church here. When I go to Mexico, I go to church every day.

Do you think that there’s evidence for the existence of God?

Margarita: I think there is. I think just the way that we were created and how everything works so perfectly is evidence. Nothing we do is ever perfect, so there has to be a higher being there. Even if you don’t believe in God, I think it’s good to believe in something because it gives you hope. I’d rather believe in something than nothing.

Do you agree with the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion?

Margarita: I think that you’ll never find a religion that you agree with one hundred percent. There are instances where I think a woman should be able to say, but it’s still taking a life. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard, but anyway I don’t agree with everything.

Do you believe in an afterlife and do you think we have to do something to get there?

Margarita: Yeah. I think that you just have to love God and believe in God. If you think you’re good with God, you should probably be okay. From very small we learn right from wrong, so we know what right and wrong are. If we just be bad or whatever, we know. Even if we make ourselves think that what we are doing is okay, deep down we know that it’s not okay. If you’re good with God, you believe in God, you and Him are cool, I guess, I think you’ll be okay.

What about the fact that people believe different things are right and wrong?

Margarita: I don’t think God is going to punish you because of the way you grew up. I just don’t think that. Being Catholic, they tell you to follow all these Commandments where, realistically, just because they are Commandments doesn’t mean that we all grew up the same and we’re all going to do the same things. That’s why I think it’s individually if you’re okay with God and what you’re doing is okay. You learn right from wrong when you were small, and if you didn’t learn when you were small how are you going to be punished? It doesn’t make sense that because of the way you grew up God’s just going to be like, “Oh no, you didn’t do this, bye.” God is supposed to be understanding and loving.

What about university students who were taught by their parents that abortion is wrong but now believe it’s okay? What if abortion is wrong and the students have gone against what they were taught when they were small?

Margarita: I don’t know. That’s why I said it just comes down to you and God. That’s what it is. It’s not between you and your family or you and your friends from school. It’s how you are with God.

Are we on our figuring out how to be right with God or should we rely on tools like the Bible?

Margarita: I think it’s a little bit of both. I think the Bible does say a lot of good things, like how to love and what is love. It gives you a lot of good definitions, but it also is just you, too. You could be one year really close to God and go to church and all this and then something happens and you back away, but I think you’ll eventually find your way back. You’re just having a hard time.

A California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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