California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interviews with Adi, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher, Jacqueline, who is studying economics, and Vera; and with Jayen, who is studying criminal justice, outside the library at Palomar College in San Marcos on November 18, 2019.
ADI, JACQUELINE, AND VERA
California Catholic Daily/Mary Rose: Do you consider yourself religious?
Adi: I consider myself a believer, but not so heavily religious.
Vera: Yes, Christian. It’s like my life. Back then, I wasn’t really religious, but now you can say I am because I study the Bible and go to church. I changed because I began understanding the Bible and relating it to my life and seeing God through my daily life. Through creation.
Jacqueline: I am religious. Before, I would church hop a lot and it wasn’t really good. But now I felt like I had a lot of my questions answered, so I think that opened a great amount of belief in me.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Jacqueline: Because of the Bible. In the Bible it tells us who God is. For me, it’s the Bible and then this world. It wasn’t created on its own. I believe in God because this world exists, but it’s mainly because of the Bible. We have the Bible for a reason because it teaches us about earth and heaven.
Vera: I believe in God because I literally just have faith. I really believe in God. I have atheist friends and they don’t see it, but I just feel God. Also because I want to go to heaven. Also because of the Bible. Also it’s because of my family. I was raised by believing parents so that kind of played in my upbringing too. Actually, I wanted to venture out in Buddhism or whatever but then I did a Bible study and I saw God’s existence. So that’s why.
Adi: I was raised Catholic, and specifically in Mexican culture you kind of hail the Virgin Mary. We have the Guadalupe. When I asked my sister, ‘Why are they so focused on her? What’s so special?” she just put it bluntly, “It’s because that’s what they believe in.” So it’s not really reasoning behind it, it’s just a belief that you have.
Do you think there’s any existence for God or the Virgin of Guadalupe?
Adi: No, that’s why I’m going to Bible study now. I don’t have that much knowledge on religion. That’s why I say I’m just a believer.
Where do you think the Bible came from?
Jacqueline: I think it came from God. It was written not by God, but through his thoughts. I think the Bible came from God to teach us.
Vera: The Bible teaches that God used prophets to write the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible. There’s different types, over thousands of years difference, but the prophets, they’re saying the same exact things. It’s God’s words spoken to the prophets. In history, it’s called Canon. I guess the body of church decided which books are actually going to be in the Bible or not. But the point is, there’s God’s will in it, because God gave the Bible for His children, even though men try to change the Bible. There’s the Canon Bible which is the Bible that we use and then there’s the Mormon bible, there’s the Catholic Bible where they added and did things to the Bible. It doesn’t really matter when the Canon was put together or who put it together.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Vera: Jesus is the one who the Bible prophesies about. Jesus is the One Who is the Savior, is the Christ. God came in the flesh. That’s Who Jesus is. He’s a real Person that existed in history.
Jacqueline: I would say He’s God. He’s the One That was prophesied in the Bible so He’s many things, as the Bible says.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Jayen: Yes. Every Sunday I go to a Catholic Church in Rancho Bernardo called San Rafael. I grew up in a Catholic family. Every Sunday we go to church. Sometimes Saturday nights. Most of my family are there too. If I don’t have the chance to go with them, I usually go by myself and if I don’t go to church, then I kind of feel kind of weird. I can either go to RB or go to Our Lady of Mount Carmel which is in Rancho Peñasquitos. I used to teach at Confirmation classes at San Rafael every Sunday back in my high school career but I don’t do that as much because school is in the way right now. I used to go to retreats a lot back in my high school years which I really miss.
When you were teaching confirmation class how did you explain the Church’s teaching on abortion?
Jayen: What we did was our youth minister gave us topics about what we needed to discuss and then every Sunday night we just gave out topics and let them share their opinions about it and that’s pretty much it. As we got closer and closer to when they would get confirmed, they got to give back where they were in our position and got to teach a confirmation class. I don’t remember talking about abortion. I can’t really explain it because I don’t remember doing it.
How did you explain the church’s teaching on gay marriage?
Jayen: I mean we just say love is love pretty much. I think that’s what I remember when we talked about that stuff. It’s been a while that so I can’t remember what we actually discussed.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Jayen: He’s like a father figure trying to help you achieve your goals in life.
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.