California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Laythen, who is studying psychology, near the Drama building at San Jose City College on October 22, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Laythen: Yeah, I’m Christian. Sometimes I think about things like, “I can’t do this, I can’t do that.” Sometimes I feel unmotivated, sometimes I feel like I have no help or motivation. Sometimes I think, “Oh, I have God on my side. I can do anything through God. I can do anything through Christ.” That’s just how it is. You just live through it. You have the faith and sometimes it’s the motivation that you need to make you do certain things in life. In terms of being negative about s*** – and no disrespect to anybody who’s atheist or anything like that, I’m not saying they’re all negative – sometimes optimism comes out when you have faith in something. So that’s just where it comes out in daily life for me.

Have you always had faith?

Laythen: Yes. I was raised that way in a Christian home. I’m not going to say, “Hey, I’m the most faithful Christian that you’ll ever meet,” but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the Bible is a form of control so I don’t go to church as much, but I’m still a hundred percent faithful. I’m still hundred percent Christian. I just think they’re different ways to show my faithfulness to Christ, not just do church. So that’s just where I’m at right now. Because there’s some stuff in the Bible where I’m like, I don’t really agree with that, it doesn’t make sense. There’s so many Testaments. How can there be so many Testaments if there’s one God from one word in one time. Why is it rewritten? Why did you guys write it and say it’s still his word. I just don’t believe stuff like that. But my grandma is hundred percent still in there to this day. I’m still there in my mind and in my soul, just not physically in the church. But I still read my Bible at home. 

[To a passing student: “You got a boyfriend? You got a boyfriend?”]

If you don’t believe the Bible how do you decide what it means to be Christian?

Laythen: From what you were taught growing up from your family, from what you learned. Being Christian is not from the Bible. You can’t just read the Bible and not have any faith and then be, “Look, I’m a hundred percent Christian.” That’s not how it works. You got to have faith. So it starts somewhere different. That’s why I think the Bible, the word is so controlling.

If an atheist asked you why you believe in God what would you say?

Laythen: That’s where science people come into play. That’s their biggest question. How did we get here? How did it all start? If I do think there’s a God or I don’t think there is a God I just think that we came. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t really know that one.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Laythen: Most definitely. That’s the big thing with Christianity. Most religions believe in an afterlife. I do think there’s an afterlife. 

Do you think you have to behave a certain way to get to a good afterlife?

Laythen: That’s funny that you ask me that because I was thinking of that just the other day. I was thinking about getting into heaven and thinking, “If I kill somebody, I’m not getting into heaven,” but in my mind it’s like, God knows, he’s not going to exile me out of heaven because of what I did on earth because there are situations to everything. I don’t think God would just be like, “Oh, he killed somebody, he’s not getting into heaven.” No, I don’t think God is like how we are on earth. He’s like, “Okay, I know your soul, why you did it, did you feel wrong about it, did you remorse, would you do it again if you had the opportunity. Who you are as a person and your soul and the actions you’ve done.” So I think you can get into heaven committing some of these sins that they call the deadly sins. It’s like nine deadly sins that you cannot commit: murder and thievery, stuff like that. That’s why I also felt like maybe back in the day they did it so they could control the people. 

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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