California Catholic reporter Mary Rose visits a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil. 

  • Edison, studying accounting
  • Moved to Santa Barbara from Santa Rosa four months ago
  • Interviewed him on the way to his class in the Drama-Music Building at Santa Barbara City College
  • December 3, 2018

Do you consider yourself religious?
Edison: Yes. I am Christian.

How does that impact your life?
Edison: The sense of a higher power inspires me. I get inspiration from it to do better, to live my life better and there’s these guidelines on how to do that through Christianity. That’s what I believe.

Do you feel any support or pushback from students or administration?
Edison: I actually don’t feel either. It’s more of just left alone. There’s not really support for a place to go pray or something like that, but there’s not any pushback against, it either. It’s kind of just this neutral.

Is it purely faith, or do you see evidence of a higher being?
Edison: Personally I believe that the world is the evidence. I don’t believe it was just a random thing that happened creating this world, so I believe that as the evidence. But I can also understand that there’s evidence against that through science and stuff, so [my] evidence is also based on faith.

Do you think faith and science are at odds or can they work together?
Edison: I think they can work together. Through studying the Bible, I found out that a lot of it goes in line with science. So I believe that it can, however, I don’t think that’s it’s a reality that’s ever going to happen. I think people are too much either one way or the other, there’s no middle.

  • Cody Taber, studying engineering
  • In front of Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College
  • December 3, 2018

Do you consider yourself religious?
Cody: No, I don’t. I didn’t grow up in a religious family.

How do you explain existence?
Cody: I don’t know. I kind of explain – oh, God – I feel like there’s a – I don’t think of religion, I just think of energies and the energies you put out depend on how others react to you. So that’s existing. Kind of like good vibes gets good vibes, bad vibes gets bad vibes. Stuff like that.

How do you think the world came into being?
Cody: Evolution.

How about the original matter that it came from?
Cody: Well, it started with the big bang and all those elements that came together mixed with each other and formed bacteria and different beings and evolved that way.

Do you have an explanation of where the original elements came from?
Cody: No, I just know it’s from space and more the scientific side of everything.

What would you say to this argument: Every time we see writing or architecture or other ordered things, we recognize that someone with intelligence made it. There are some ordered things, though, that are eternal and we only discover, like the Pythagorean Theorem (that the squares on two sides of a right triangle equal the square on the hypotenuse) – doesn’t that show that an eternal being with intelligence made it?
Cody: I don’t know. I just say someone wanted something to believe in so they believed in this higher power. And they believed that they saw God or whatever high power they believed in and just wanted to witness something happen and that was their explanation for it. But I don’t think you should undermine human intelligence like that. I don’t think a higher power really came up with this. You’ve got to just believe in all these like long-time scientists and mathematicians.

But the Pythagoreans just discovered that the two squares equal the square on the hypotenuse. They didn’t create that mathematical perfection, it was already there.
Cody: Uum, God. I don’t know. You’re stumping me on this. I’ve never been asked these questions. Oh man. God. I’m not educated on all this that well and I’m still a first year, but, yeah, if they just discovered it, good on them, but I wouldn’t really know how to explain that.

Why do you think so many people believe in a high power?
Cody: Just because it keeps them on their path of life because if they didn’t have something to believe in they’d just think, “Oh, life is worthless, I don’t have like this higher power or main goal to keep going for.” So they don’t really think life has a purpose. They just need that structure, and good on them. I’m not against it or anything. It’s just how different people think.

Do you think your life has purpose?
Cody: I do. I think just having a lifetime full of memories and happiness is worth it. I don’t really need to believe in something that’s kind of controlling my life. I’m controlling my life. I think all the good energy I’m giving out is getting reciprocated and stuff like that.