California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Veronica, who is studying nutrition and dietetics, outside the Campus Services building at Los Angeles Mission College on November 6, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Veronica: No, I do not. Not really. I believe in God but I’m not active in religious stuff. My parents are religious. My mom used to be a nun, back in El Salvador, but once my parents came to America they just stopped all religious practices. When I was small, I used to go to church a lot but going into middle school, that’s when everything stopped. I have a big family over there and it’s really religious. My uncle was a priest, like we have our own church over there. I don’t know why they decided to change up once they came to America.
If an atheist asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Veronica: I feel like believing in God just gives me that sense of hope. I could go through anything just knowing that He’s there. He just gives me that sense of support that everything will be okay. Just Him being there – it’s like a support system.
Do you think you live your life differently because of your belief in God?
Veronica: Yeah I think I do. It helps me through tough times.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Veronica: Jesus is Jesus the Lord and Savior. That’s what I would say.
Video: Veronica’s new doubts about the afterlife
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Veronica: Yesterday in my class we had this discussion about the afterlife, if it’s real or anyone believes in it. My professor brought up that in physics he learned that atoms never really go away so when you die there’s always a piece of you that’s left. Say a piece of you died and is in the ground, there’s always going to be a piece of you there in that ground and once that grass grows, you’ll be part of that grass. Let’s say your memory – that little piece of you will be a part of that grass. So you’re still somehow here in this world. That made me have second thoughts like, “oh, is there an afterlife if there’s always that little piece of you that’s left in the world?” So I’m left in between with that.
Do you believe if there is a heaven you have to behave a certain way to get there?
Veronica: I think it’s better to be good, to have good actions. Overall, no matter what you’ve done in your life, God will always forgive you if you forgive yourself, if you ask for forgiveness. But me personally, I find it really important to always have good actions and always think of having good intentions.
How do you decide what’s good and what’s bad?
Veronica: I think when I make a decision, it’s either a gut feeling or something you learned through life through the people around you, watching what’s good and bad. Being told like, “that’s not good, that’s bad.” Being influenced, being taught what’s good and bad. I think that’s how I make my decisions most of the time. And through faith.
What do you think about abortion?
Veronica: This is just wild. I had this discussion with my mom last week and she opened up about her having an abortion when she was 19 or 18. She was like “yeah, I did this before you guys were born.” She had her personal issues there, she was like, “I couldn’t have the kid at the time so I aborted it.” I felt really bad because it’s against everything she’s ever believed in. I’m okay with abortion if you are like a rape victim or you feel like you’re not ready – even though knowing that having sex always comes with that possibility of having a kid but I can understand if you’re not ready for a kid. But yeah, she opened up about that and like how ever since then she has this hole in her heart that affected her. Like, “Aah, I regret doing that.” Just seeing her breakdown, she was just like, “I needed to tell you this.” And I’m like, “oh Mom, it’s okay, I still love you no matter what.” But my mom going through that made me a lot more open to abortion.
What do you think about gay marriage?
Veronica: Yeah, I’m for it. I have a gay uncle.
How do you decide that things that the Bible condemns are okay?
Veronica: Yeah, how do I decide? I would say I’m really open to a lot of things. I feel like if I reject it I’m judging them or something. I want to be open to everything. I don’t want to push people away because they are a certain thing. Nothing’s wrong with being gay or having an abortion, all those things, even if the Bible may be against it, I’m still open arms. It all goes back to circumstances. It’s the person’s choice, so I’m not going to really reject someone for doing something.
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 GoFundMe Page here.