Part 1 of an interview with Rosemarie and Erin outside the Science Complex at Los Angeles Harbor College. February 6, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Rosemarie: Yes. I’m a Christian and I believe in God. I also believe you should do things that are the best for the greatest amount of people. Yeah, just live your best life, one that’s very morally good and just try to be the best version of yourself.
Erin: I’m Catholic. I do follow the morals, the standards they have for Catholicism, but sometimes I really don’t go to church on Sundays. I do consider myself religious but sometimes I don’t really practice it. I’m not really committed, but I do have the morals of Catholicism instilled in me.
Do you see evidence for the existence of God or is it pure faith?
Rosemarie: I would say it’s faith. It’s not like there’s a tombstone for Jesus Christ anywhere. It’s faith, but I believe strongly it’s real. For me it’s more like a philosophical thing that there’s good in people and we tend to want to be very positive. We tend to want to help each other. If we are in our best mental state, I think we tend to want to be good people so I believe that is evidence of God right there.
Erin: Sometimes I do think there’s evidence of God. Sometimes life would be telling me that there’s not, and then sometimes things just come up so coincidentally you’re thinking, this has to be the work of God.
What would you say to an atheist?
Rosemarie: I feel like the most important part of religion – any religion, not specifically Christianity – but what I love about religions is basically the moral code. I feel like for atheists, as long as they have some kind of guiding rule, or they know what’s right from wrong, I believe they’re going to be good people and that’s all right. Even if it’s not faith in a greater power, I would just want them to believe that they do have control over their life and just to think positively. That’s what religion teaches, pretty much.
Erin: When I bring up religion, I guess it’s like their opinion. They grew up differently than us and they don’t really have experience in what we experienced growing up. I could teach them about what we do, like the morals and what we believe in. I don’t know what they really want to do, but but I guess it’s their life.
Do you have anything you could tell an atheist to explain your belief in God?
Erin: Sometimes, yeah. I would be like, my Jesus Lord, oh my God, He’s doing wonders! Sometimes I would do that and be like, can you see it? But, seriously, if they’re really talking about it, I could tell them that I do have these experiences that I want to share with them, but only one on one.
Rosemarie: It’s a very controversial topic. It’s hard to be unbiased, too.
Do you face any pushback on campus for your religious beliefs?
Rosemarie: I don’t think so, just because I think Christianity, Catholicism is kind of like the majority religion here. I don’t know if I would say the same if I were Islam or Buddhist, but I imagine if I was I don’t think I would have a problem here. We’re pretty open-minded.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Erin: I think that heaven is a real place. In my Catholicism faith, people who go there are people who have followed morals and standards of Catholicism, kind of basically rules, and have been going to church and have been repenting for their sins. So yeah, following the standards basically. I believe that there’s a heaven and also a place called purgatory. It is a place where the souls are basically labeled to be good but they still have minor sins to get rid of. So before going to heaven they stay in purgatory and they go through a system of getting rid of sins and then they can go straight towards heaven.
Rosemarie: I like to believe that people are inherently good. I believe that, no matter what, every person in this world can strive for happiness. No matter how poor we are or how rich we are, no matter how much we have to go through in our life, we all strive for happiness and I think to do that we are morally good and we try your best to help one another. I feel like in our greatest mental state that is what we want to do as human beings. So I believe that there’s a God up there who actually brings a piece of Him to all of us and that’s why we strive so much. So I believe there is a home up there somewhere and it’s called heaven.
California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.