California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Orion from Vallejo outside the Diablo Valley College Library in Pleasant Hill on March 9, 2020.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Orion: No. When I was younger, I felt like I was being forced to go to church every Sunday, but as my sister moved out for school, my mom started trying to go every other weekend. It just kind of lightened up. I always felt like there was a reluctancy because personally I believe a lot in the sciences and I try my best to find a relationship between science and religion. But they’re very hard to find. I would like to believe in God, but I’m still trying to persuade myself into it.

How did you develop your moral code?

Orion: I determine my moral code mostly from what I believe my mom determines what is right from wrong. I guess that can relate back to religion since my mom is a pretty religious person. So religion affects me in the background since I use my mom as the basis of my moral code. I know that you can’t go around messing around with people, you know? She’s in the back of my head, like what would my mom think if I did this?

What if a close friend or your sister asked you if she should get an abortion – how would you decide what’s right and what would you say to her?

Orion: Do what you believe is best for yourself. Because I don’t try and give immediate advice because if they take it too literal and then they regret their decision later on, they will blame it on me. So I’ll just be like, do whatever’s best for yourself. And I personally believe about abortion is that, if you can make the sacrifices, for example, if a college student has to be put in that type of situation, if you are willing to do whatever it takes to properly raise that kid, if that means dropping out of school or working two jobs while going to school, do whatever it takes. But if you’re unwilling to do that, then get the abortion.

Do you think abortion ends the life of a human being?

Orion: I don’t know exactly what considers a human’s life to start in the fetus, in the fetal period, I guess, because I think they have some type of regulation for abortion where you have to get it within the first trimester. I believe there has to be some type of limit on it. If that fetus has a heartbeat, then it would be considered killing a life. But if it hasn’t yet developed yet, if it’s like two weeks, then it’s not considered.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Orion: I like to believe so. I don’t know entirely what it may be or what it will look like, but I like to believe that I’m going somewhere and I’m not just like in this dark black state, like you’re permanently asleep.

Do you think bad people go somewhere bad?

Orion: It’s pretty subjective, I believe. Because if, pretend like you did something guilty and you go to sleep that night and you dream a bad dream of you doing that guilty thing again, I feel like that’s their bad area. So afterlife would be a repeat of those bad experiences. It’s like you’re reliving your life from a different perspective. That’s what I would think afterlife is. But what do I know?

If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?

Orion: The Son of God, the Person who died on the cross for our sins, resurrected, always forgives.

Do you believe that or is that just a description of what Christians believe?

Orion: I’d like to believe it. I go back and forth between religion and my gray area. Religion does lead you to an optimistic life just because you know that we’re entitled to forgiveness, I guess you can say. And with the mistakes that everyone makes, it’s comforting to know that Someone has forgiven you.

What do you mean when you say we’re “entitled” to forgiveness?

Orion: I personally haven’t heard in church about Jesus or God deeming someone unworthy of going to heaven or not being forgiven. How I interpret it is that, if you don’t believe in Jesus, then you won’t go to heaven. So I guess that’s the only area where forgiveness isn’t a part of the picture, which makes sense. But personally for me in this gray area, I don’t know where I stand.

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

Orion: Hmm, that is a tough one, because that’s pretty much what the question is that I’m trying to answer. But when miracles do happen, like I didn’t study for a test and I get an A on it, that’s a miracle in my head. So at those moments, I would like to believe that there’s a God and there’s proof of it since my mom reminds me to pray about it. So I do pray about it. And then it turns out in my favor. So there’s that proof. But then again, I believe it’s all subjective because everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs. I’m not going to try and question someone else’s belief. They’re entitled to their own, I’m entitled to mine, that’s that.

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