Interview with Lyndon Livingston, who is studying film and TV entertainment, took place outside the cafeteria at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo on April 8, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Lyndon: Yes, I do. I’m a Christian, I’m Catholic, same thing I think. Religion in many ways has helped me become who I am today through meeting new people, through my youth group at my church. The community aspect of the religion that I’m in has really helped me out.

What would you say if an atheist asked why you believe in God?

Lyndon: I’ve never been really asked that question before and I’m never met exactly an atheist before, so I’ve never run into that complication. I say “complication” just because it’s complicated thinking about it. I can tell you a quick story though. My friend, a couple years ago, he never went to church and he considered himself somewhat of an atheist. Not like, “There’s no such thing as God whatsoever,” but he didn’t attend church, didn’t believe anything that we were thinking about. But then he came to church a couple of times with us. He came to my youth group a couple of times. Now, three or four years later, he’s heavily involved in the worship team, he’s one of the leaders of the church. So I guess if I was talking to an atheist I would say maybe give it a chance and see what comes out of it. And I would tell them that story, as well.

Do you hold the traditional Catholic views on abortion?

Lyndon: I’m not a big fan of abortion, just in general, whether it’s religious or not. If I was to say it bluntly, I’m against abortion. It’s a new life coming into the world and whether that person or child, baby or fetus, or whatever is here or not in the world, it is still something that will be entering the world and you’re taking away its right, its opportunity to see what the world is.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman, only. Do you agree with that?

Lyndon: No. I’ve many lesbian and gay friends that I’m really good friends with. So I guess I don’t believe that aspect of it. Man and woman, man and man, woman and woman – I don’t mind any of it. Just be with who you want to be with. That’s my opinion.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Lyndon: Yes. I believe in an afterlife. My exact idea of what happens in the afterlife, like whether we’re within a different body and we just get to walk around on clouds like we see in movies, I’m not exactly sure. Or whether we’re just some sort of spirit floating around, I don’t know. So yes, I want to say something happens afterwards but there’s like one percent doubt in my mind that if you die it just goes black and the TV gets turned off. So that has always been in my head but it’s always brought me comfort being with my community in the church and us all talking about our different views on it and our different opinions and guesses as to what’s going to happen.

Do you think we have to live a certain way to get to heaven?

Lyndon: Simply be a good person. That’s very very blunt, because it depends on your point of view. I know the ideal answer for a religious person would be like, “Follow the Bible, you’ll most likely get into heaven.” But there’s a lot of things within the Bible that I’ve already said I’m against. So I can’t just say, follow the Bible, you’ll be good. I would say, do your thing, see what happens. I’ll bring in terrorism for example. If a terrorist does something they see as a very good cause or their cause is definitely good, from their head that would be a good thing. If I do something like holding open the door for an old lady, I see that as a good thing. So I can’t give you an answer. I’m not really the authority to answer what is the ideal thing to do in order to get into heaven.

If you think there is a God who made a heaven, wouldn’t it makes sense for Him to give us instructions on how to get there? Wouldn’t that be the Bible and/or the Church?

Lyndon: A combination of the Church, the Bible, and people’s general beliefs, whether it comes from the Bible or not. Like most things, like vehicles or technology, religion has evolved over time. Church and Christianity and religion in general came around two thousand plus years ago. I would say in that time it has evolved to a point of which it’s not strictly the Bible that you have to follow. Like maybe nineteen hundred years ago it was the Bible you followed and you would get to heaven. Two thousand years after that, as a the community, the religious groups have decided there’s other aspects that have to be taken into consideration in order to fit the times.

What is the role of Jesus in your life?

Lyndon: The usual Church answer is He’s a man Who died at like the age of 30 for our sins and made sure that we could get to heaven. I would say He’s a Guy I can just turn to, pray to. He’s like an imaginary friend that is always standing by you and always agrees with you, always is someone you can just talk to, that you can put your secrets within, that you can tell your innermost truths to, you can tell your sins to. Anything along those kinds of lines that you wouldn’t generally bring up in a normal conversation, He’s there to listen to you. He doesn’t talk back immediately or He might not talk back at all, but He’s always listening.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.