Interview on March 7, 2022, with Luis, who is studying psychology, outside the Campus Center at West Valley College in Saratoga, California.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Do you go to church?
Luis: We used to go to church when we were little. We’re not from here. We are from Venezuela. Back in my country, we used to go to the church of my school. It was a Catholic one. But after that we haven’t done that that much.
Do you consider yourself Catholic?
Luis: Yeah, I guess.
Do you believe in God?
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Luis: Well, He’s the Son of God. That’s how, in my religion, they would explain it to you. So that’s the thing that I know.
Do you think there’s evidence for the existence of God?
Luis: I haven’t thought about it that much. I don’t care if people say that it exists or it doesn’t exist. I just believe because it makes me feel good about it.
Do you think it’s true that there’s a God?
Luis: I think so. Maybe because we exist, I believe that that’s enough. If we exist, something had to happen to make us be here. I don’t know exactly if that’s God or whatever it is, but if I want to call it God I could call that God. So I say that, yeah. I believe in that and I believe that it exists.
Do you believe that an atheist is wrong if he says, “There is no God”?
Luis: I could hear their reasons. You could say that, because of science, maybe there’s a big bang or something called like the particle of God, which is when atoms crash and something happens. There’s many ways you could see that. I choose to see that it exists. Some people could choose that it doesn’t exist and that’s okay as well.
Do you think that if God exists, then the people who think He doesn’t exist are wrong and if God does not exist, then you are wrong? Do you think that somebody has to be wrong?
Luis: No, I don’t think about that. I just choose to believe and if someone wants to believe another thing, that’s okay, as well.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Luis: Well, I don’t actually know if it’s true or false that there’s an afterlife. I haven’t really thought about it much. But I want to believe there’s something else. I don’t know exactly if you could call it afterlife, but you can choose whatever you want about it and just be happy with it. For me, I guess I want something else to happen after life. I don’t know exactly what, but I guess just let it happen. I would prefer that. If it’s not, well, I guess that’s it. But right now I don’t want to think about it. I’m still very young.
If there is an afterlife, do you think good people will go to one place and bad people go to a place of punishment?
Luis: I don’t know if this works exactly, but I read a myth from many, many years ago that there’s a jury – I’m not sure exactly if that’s the word – that just showed you what you do in your life and you yourself judge if you did wrong or right. Something like that. So if there’s a heaven or hell, maybe you’re the one to judge, if you do the right things or the wrong things. It’s a weird metaphor.
Do you think there are sins and that it’s wrong to commit sins?
Luis: Sins are bad, yeah. There are worse sins than the others. There are things that you shouldn’t do, but I believe that God is a merciful God. So yes, you sometimes commit sins, but that doesn’t mean that you’re like a bad person, maybe you just felt bad about one thing. And if you’re willing to change to better, I believe that God will forgive you, but it’s only if you want to change, because sometimes you could do things that you don’t know that they’re bad, or sometimes you do things that they are good, but you thought that they are bad or whatever. Things are bad, but I believe that the only way that they will like, be super bad, is if you do it on purpose and you don’t regret it.
Do you think abortion is a sin?
Luis: It’s hard to tell, because sometimes there are things that are really bad, like someone raped someone else. I guess that the person that was raped will think that abortion is something that could be a good thing because she didn’t decide to be pregnant. But if you think a little bit about it, you think that you’re like killing a person. There are two positions. So that’s a decision for the person. I really couldn’t tell. It’s a little bit hard because it’s a hard question. I don’t know.