California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Sarah, who is studying business administration, near the Student Engagement Center at Mission College in Santa Clara on October 22, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Sarah: Not very. I grew up with really religious parents, so I do tiny religious things, like I have these little prayers I do before eating and stuff but that’s about it. I only wear the hijab because I’m used to wearing it. I’ve been wearing it since I was little, so that’s the only reason I really wear it. I don’t really pray that much even though my parents want me to. I try but I just don’t feel like it that much. So yeah, I wouldn’t consider myself that much of a religious person.
When you pray before meals do you feel some sort of connection with God?
Sarah: No, it’s just a habit.
When you were little did you feel more religious?
Sarah: Yeah, when I was really little. I’m an only child so the only influence I had was mostly my parents. I was more religious growing up, but then as I got older I had a little bit more pressure to pray more so that kind of diverted me away from it. I didn’t really want to, so I got less religious as I grew up. In the future I wouldn’t consider myself as a fully atheist, but I’m definitely not very close to religion.
Do you believe in any sort of higher power?
Sarah: Yeah just a little. Kind of out of habit.
If an atheist asked you why you believe in God what would you say?
Sarah: It’s kind of reassuring that there’s something there. If you think there’s completely nothing – I don’t mind people who are atheist at all – yeah, there’s like science and everything and everything is nothing after we die. But it’s just kind of nice to imagine. That’s it.
Do your parents know that you don’t really believe?
Sarah: No. They know that I don’t pray that much, but they don’t tell me to pray that much now as much as I did when I was younger. They don’t know that I’m not that close to religion.
What do you think about abortion?
Sarah: Oh, I don’t care. You can do it. Whatever. Even my parents, my dad, he’s like, “You should only get it if it’s like harming you or if you really don’t want to have the baby right now you should get it done.” But I’m like, okay, do whatever, it’s your own choice.
Does Islam forbid abortion?
Sarah: No. My dad is super religious and he’s like, “If it’s harming you in any way, don’t hesitate to get an abortion.” Even my mom, she’s religious, not as religious as my dad, but she says if the baby somehow harms you in any way at all then don’t hesitate to get an abortion. I’m like, even if you don’t want the baby, it doesn’t matter. Even if it’s not harming you, if you don’t want the baby right now, maybe you can’t financially afford it right now, go ahead, it’s not like a real thing right now.
How do you define abortion? Do you think it kills a baby?
Sarah: No. People who get an abortion in the third trimester or something, it’s usually not their choice. If you get it earlier than that it’s not really a human being yet. An abortion when it’s an actual baby in the third trimester, people who get an abortion that late usually want to keep the baby and they usually don’t have a choice if they want to abort the baby or not. It’s either for their health or some issue with the baby.
Do you believe in any sort of afterlife?
Sarah: Same thing, it’s nice to imagine it, like the same heaven-hell idea. It’s just nice to have an idea of that, but who knows if that really exists. Kind of fifty-fifty.
Are you curious about it?
Sarah: Yeah, definitely, because in Islam, in the Koran, it’s like in heaven there are waterfalls of milk and honey. And I’m like, “Really? Doesn’t it get dirty?”
California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.
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