California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil.
Interviews with Carlos, who is studying to be a civil engineer, outside the library and with Kamar, who is studying welding technology, near the business building at San Bernardino Valley College on January 15, 2020.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Carlos: No. When I was little I was, but I feel like it was because of my parents. I don’t even remember when the last time I went to church was.
How do you think the world came to be?
Carlos: Science. It just happened. I don’t think someone just made the world.
You think it’s more logical to believe it came from nothing?
Do you believe in objective right and wrong?
Carlos: No. It always depends on the person.
What if someone said that, since an abortion ends the life of a human being, nothing can justify it?
Carlos: It’s always up to the person. People are going to say that it’s ending someone’s life but other people are going to say it in a different way.
What if a mother is having a hard time and drowns her two-year-old – is that okay?
Carlos: No. That’s not abortion. There are different ways to not care for the child. She could give it up for adoption or something. She doesn’t have to end its life.
Couldn’t you say the same thing about a woman who is pregnant?
Carlos: Yes but no. A two year old is already born. It’s already there. When a woman is pregnant it’s technically still not there, physically in front of you. It’s still inside. It’s not the same. Yeah I get it’s tough to abort a baby before it’s born but – I don’t know.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Kamar: Yeah, in the middle. From the more Christian aspect, you know how they say you’re supposed to turn the other cheek? I do try to take that into consideration when I’m in a conflicted situation, especially when I’m at work and I have customers come in and they’re being a little rowdy or whatever about their packages being mishandled. I try to take a step back and realize, hey, if it was me on the other side, I would feel the same way and also from a more biblical standpoint, I have to be a little more passive toward what they’re going through, see how they feel. Other than that, I guess I take the whole respect toward your mother and father, like you have to honor your mother and father when you’re out in public or honoring your family just period, I take that into consideration a lot when I’m out or just when I’m with my family, period.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Kamar: Different from how He’s portrayed in the media or portrayed in the book, I would say He’s everywhere. Jesus, God, or whatever you want to call Him, He is your being, He is what ties you to morality. Whenever you have that voice in the back of your head telling you to do something negative or do something that could possibly have a negative outlook on you or on somebody in your vicinity, I feel like Jesus or God is like your conscience, that voice telling you “this is a different path you should take or this is how you should look at the cards that are dealt in front of you.” You should look at it from a well, this is where I’m at right now, but, if I continue on this path and the work, I can eventually achieve something better.
How do you decide what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing to do?
Kamar: I measure it on whether it’s going to hurt me or hurt somebody else. I’m one of those people who likes to overthink, so I’ll try to make up different scenarios in my head of how it’ll play out, whether or not I’ll come out on top or I’ll come out somewhere in the middle. I guess that’s a cynical way of putting it. I don’t want to say as long as I’m good, then I know it’s going to work, but as long as I know that I’ve learned something from the situation, or I know that it’s going to change me somehow, then that’s how I determine. If the situation is going to affect me for the negative, if I’m going to come out of the situation not how I came into it, or leave it with a false sense of security, then I feel like I’m not really carrying out what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m not really doing what is set out for me to do.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Kamar: Yeah. I don’t know for sure. I have no real proof of where I’m going to go, but I do feel like this can’t be the only little stage on the plane we’re on because I believe in vibrations. I believe that whatever you put out, you’re going to get back. So there has to be some type of somebody keeping track. Something out there. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that black and white, somebody like, “oh, you’re doing good so I’m going to put you in a good place or bad place.” But I do feel like there’s some type of list, some type of plan that we’re going to have to assent to. This can’t be it. Because we’re here, we’re learning, we’re at school, there has to be some type of purpose to what we’re doing day to day. So I feel like in the afterlife that’s just not necessarily a reward, but just a little, “all right, this is what you did here, so I’m going to let you reap your benefits or take your little break here.”
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