California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Anallely, who is in the counselor education graduate program, between the Library Annex portables at CSU Stanislaus on March 11, 2020.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Anallely: No. I felt like I was more forced to follow a religion. I now choose not to practice a religion. I felt like it was forced, like I had to follow one, “oh, you’ve got to do this, or you’ve got to make a choice of what religion, what to practice.” So I didn’t like it. When I moved out of my parents’, once I turned 18 and I moved out, I was like, “you know what, I’m not going to do this no more.” Like, it’s enough. I want to think that there could be Something, but at the same time, I just put it in the back of my head, like, “Oh, whatever, just live life, enjoy it one day at a time.” I’m not sure if there’s a God. I would like to believe that maybe there might be one. I think that’s what people grab on to, hold on to, some kind of hope to keep them going and motivated. But for me, at that moment in my life when I felt like I couldn’t defend my mom or do anything about it, I didn’t want to believe in God, I didn’t want to hold onto hope. My refuge was to hide through food, so that’s when I developed my eating disorder. I was in elementary. That’s a huge trauma for a child to experience. I think at one point it was maybe like, “okay, we got to go on Sunday to church,” like, “go get ready, let’s go.” And then there was a reward. So afterwards you get ice cream so there is more of an incentive, so I’ll go because I’m going to get this out of it, not because I really enjoyed the process of being there.

Do you believe in any sort of afterlife?

Anallely: No. I feel like once you die, you just die and you’re gone. I don’t think there’s anything else after that.

How do you decide what’s right and wrong?

Anallely: There’s a lot of judgments around this world and I don’t think there should be a right or wrong. There are different examples, oh, you are homosexual. Oh, that’s wrong. That’s right. I think there’s much more need in this world of respect. If we believe in something, good. If we don’t, it’s okay. There’s really a need for respect and love. To me, there’s no right or wrong.

But you wouldn’t steal, right? Why not?

Anallely: Why would I not want to steal? Well, I know there’s the consequence, there’s the police report. People can’t really imagine that also in that case, the government’s involved, well, what if there was no government? So there’s that respect on that end. Sometimes people are very close minded. Obviously, I lose my freedom, you know, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing to have: the freedom to have the right to choose if I want to practice a religion or not to.

What would you do if you saw someone stealing?

Anallely: If I was to see somebody stealing, I would want to be honest, and tell someone or maybe just wait and not put that person on the spotlight. Figure out why is that person stealing, is that person homeless, did that person need food. Why is that person stealing that particular thing. Go toward that person and open a dialogue. Is there resources that person needs. More of an understanding why that person is stealing, instead of judging that person. I just want to understand that individual and why is that person stealing. Yes there’s a law, there’s a government, but also being honest and there’s consequences for everything, but you have to come to a conclusion. You know what, let’s help out.

How would you live if there were no laws? Would you steal or not care if other people stole?

Anallely: I was saying earlier, people cannot view our society without law. People are not open-minded enough to see that. “Oh, what, no police around?” What would it be like. So it’s hard to say. I say that to myself, if stealing wasn’t a problem, anybody would just take anything and I wouldn’t consider it a big deal. It would be a daily routine like brushing your teeth.

Abortion is a daily occurrence, but some people say it’s wrong because it takes the life of a human being. What do you think?

Anallely: Other people think it should be the person’s right, their choice of wanting to abort. I’m always trying to be neutral, trying to be open and understand why. Why do you want to abort? Were you raped? If I was raped, I think I would want to do an abortion. I wouldn’t want to carry a child that would probably remind me. But also maybe once I’m ready to have my own child, I might be reminded, “oh shoot, I was raped and now I have the choice about my own child.” Then there’s others who don’t have the opportunity to carry a baby for themselves even though they desire to. It’s so mixed up.

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