Interview on April 11, 2022, with Jimena, who is studying communications, outside the Golden Eagle Building at California State University, Los Angeles.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Jimena: I practice it, but not in the religious way of going to church. I started getting busy working. My parents go to church but I would rather just practice it at home, especially since I’m eighteen now and make my own decisions. I read the Bible – sometimes – phrases, maybe. I do go to church, but watching it through Youtube or a prayer and just that simple way.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Jimena: I’m a survivor of cancer. My household was like, “Rezarle a dios y todo está bien.” And I became a survivor, so that’s why I believe in God. I was able to reach out like, “If You gave me this for a reason, it’s because You want me to survive it.” Because I survived it, I feel like He was listening to my prayers. They said talk to Him about specific things you want to happen and if you see it happen, you see He was listening.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Jimena: Our father. He’s the father of everyone.
How do we know that about Him or anything about Him?
Jimena: I don’t remember. It’s been a while since I read those things.
Do you follow the moral teachings of the Bible?
Jimena: Not really. It’s been two, three years since I read it that much. A lot of those things don’t stick with me.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Jimena: We all know where we’re going based on how we live our lives. If you do the bad, you know you’re going to go to the bad place and if you do good, you know you’re going to be in a good place in the afterlife.
What about people who do terrible things, like school shootings, and think they’re right? If they think they’re right, are they right?
Jimena: The only one who can judge that is God. The people in charge of the afterlife get to define right and wrong. If you regret what you did, I feel like you deserve a chance, but if you don’t regret what you did, you’re there for a reason, I guess.
Wouldn’t Christians say that the Bible is a way that God lets us know how He will judge what’s right and wrong?
But you don’t follow the teachings of the Bible?
Jimena: Not as much now. It’s been a while.
Do you think that people who violate the Ten Commandments or Jesus’s teachings in the Bible and don’t regret it go to hell?
Jimena: They might not. I feel like if you follow at least some of the Bible you deserve a chance in heaven. I think it just depends.
The Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” Do you think abortion, which kills a human being, is a sin?
Jimena: It’s your body, do what’s best for you. It does say, “Don’t kill,” and you shouldn’t just have an abortion because you want to, because you don’t want the baby, because it is killing a child. But you don’t know the background story and the trauma that that child could cause to someone. In cases of rape, for example, if it’s a trauma for them, I feel like it should be allowed. Because you shouldn’t be killing a child, but when that person was raped, their inner child was taken away, especially if it’s minor, which is more of the cases where people have abortions.
What if someone said that the unborn child is not the one who raped the mother and he shouldn’t be punished for what his father did?
Jimena: Everyone has their own thoughts. Yes, it’s not the baby’s fault, but … I don’t know what to say to that.
Do you think that people can be born in the wrong body? For example, if a man thinks he is a woman, do you think he actually is a woman who happens to have a man’s body?
Jimena: I feel like it’s a process. I’m against when little kids think they’re transgender because they haven’t experienced anything, but not when it’s someone older who’s gone through life and has the ability to process what they believe and think. It’s different when it’s a little kid. It may be true that they feel a specific way but it shouldn’t be a thing for kids. But if someone is older and has processed different stages of life, they can make a decision to be like, “I feel like I should be this.”
If anyone can be one, what does it mean to say that someone is a woman?
Jimena: It’s just the body parts that make you be like, “That’s a woman and that’s a man.” But we’re all kind of the same. Men and women have the same perspectives on different things. Men and women sometimes act the same. I don’t think there’s anything specific to separate who should be and who shouldn’t be a woman.