California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Arianna, who is studying environmental science, on Ohlone Way at Ohlone College on January 27, 2020.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Arianna: Not necessarily. I believe in God, but I don’t follow a religion. More spiritual, if that makes sense. But I believe that somebody created us, in a way.
Did you grow up religious?
Arianna: No. My mom grew up Catholic and my dad grew up Muslim. But both of them didn’t grow up in strict households. My mom will go to church every now and then. And my dad calls himself Muslim, but he doesn’t really follow the rules of being Muslim, but he believes in it. So my parents are not really religious. They said, ‘if you find a religion, if you believe in it, you could practice it,’ like, very chill about it. They didn’t force us to do anything.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Arianna: I don’t know necessarily there’s like,”God,” but I don’t think we came here out of nowhere. Something created us, then we just started forming, more and more. I just think that there is somebody watching over us and that someone did create us and that we’re not alone. I don’t know if you’d even call it God, but I believe in something. I’ve had friends that were very Christian, but I’ve never actually asked them, ‘why do you think that there is a God?’ I never asked anyone to give me a real explanation as to why there is such a thing.
If someone asked you, who’s Jesus, what would you say?
Arianna: I know that – I forget the name of who birthed Jesus. Was it mother Mary? She birthed him. All I know is that He took His life for us. That’s all I know, that He took His life for the rest of humanity.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Arianna: Yeah, I do. I don’t necessarily know if good people go to heaven or bad people go to hell, but I do believe that there is a life after this. Some of my friends have theories that when we die, we get rebirthed into something else, like a butterfly or something. I kind of believe in that, but I don’t know. I feel like it might be the same life we’re living now. Like when we die, we just wake up and we are living the same life.
How do you decide what’s good and what’s bad?
Arianna: Basically, I listen to my gut. There’s always a voice in your head that says, maybe you shouldn’t do this, and I kind of listen to that voice. Depending on the situation, it could be different to anyone. Some of my Christian friends wait till marriage and, if you don’t, then that’s a sin, technically, and you’re looked at as a bad person, like a bad Christian. But I don’t necessarily think that will make you a bad person. It could be different for everyone, but I think drugs in general are not good. But some people probably think yeah, whatever. So I just listen to my voice or think, would my parents be proud? I guess you learn from the mistakes. Basically listening to myself, do I think this is me or would I benefit?
It sounds like you don’t think there’s any difference between good and bad since it’s different for every person. Is there a difference? Does it matter?
Arianna: No, I think it all depends on the person. That’s why we have so many different religions, too. It all depends. That’s why some people are Christian and some people are Muslim, because that is what they think is good and what everyone should follow. If there was black and white, you wouldn’t have our society we have now with so many different types of ideas, perspectives, people we learn in class, like in history. Everyone had a different viewpoint. And if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be here today. I think there’s a gray middle ground. It’s not just one way or the other.
What about abortion?
Arianna: I took an ethics class and we talked about this. Obviously, people who are not on the side with abortion are against it because of their religion, because their religion says that this shouldn’t be a thing. Whereas, I think if you look at it more present day, it’s the mother’s choice, because it is her body. But I also do believe that abortion shouldn’t be kind of like, ‘oh, I’m going to have sex, unprotected sex or whatever, I’ll just get an abortion if I have a child.’ I don’t think that’s a good way to think of it. But bad instances where it wasn’t your choice to participate in the activity and then you become pregnant – the abortion is there for those instances.
Do you think abortion ends the life of a human being?
Arianna: Yeah, I do agree that it does. It is alive. I do think you are taking the life of a human being. I do agree that’s what’s happening. But if it all depends on the person getting the abortion, obviously someone might be like, ‘oh well no, I’m too young, I want to get rid of it,’ but then some people are like, ‘but no, it’s a life and I wouldn’t be here if my mom had an abortion.’ It’s not a good thing, but if it sometimes has to happen, it has to happen. I do think it’s a human, though. Yeah, that’s a life.
If you enjoyed this story, consider making a donation to support Mary Rose and the Inquiring Minds column, so that we can continue to provide this insight into the religious beliefs of California college students. You can do so by visiting our Donation Page.