California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Lisa, who is studying psychology, outside the Cabrillo College Library on January 28, 2020.    

Do you consider yourself religious? 

Lisa: No. I come from a Chinese culture. I mean, we do believe in going to the ancestors’ graves and giving them food every year and we do put incense on them. But, me personally, I don’t have a religion. I guess you could say Buddhist maybe, my parents are, but then we’re not very heavy. It’s just more like tradition. It’s not like we actually believe in it.

What’s your explanation for how we all got here? How the world came to be? 

Lisa: I’m a science major, so I’m more on the science aspect of it, rather than on the religion aspect of how God has created us.

If there was nothing, how did something come to be?

Lisa: From the science perspective, it would seem from the Big Bang theory. They say that bacteria was doing chemical reactions. Because we are multicellular, so we can’t basically come from bacteria, but bacteria, due to evolutions, evolve into multicellular organisms and, from multicellular organisms, lots of generations. And then it starts getting more to like mammals and stuff like that.

So where did the chemicals come from to have chemical reactions? Was there nothing at some point?

Lisa: Good question. I think there was nothing. But then you would need to think about that: how was the earth created? I think it was because the atmosphere, because of gases, the particles were interacting. That’s how it created it. I know what you mean, but then again, I feel like there are lots of things that are unknown.

How do you decide what’s good and what’s bad? 

Lisa: My morals are based on what my parents taught me and what society’s standard is, I guess. And also movies, too. I guess my parents do believe in God, now that I think about it. They said, “If you’re being good to others, then good things will happen to you. If you’re being bad then bad things, like harm, bad things will happen to you.” So I guess there is a little bit of religion to it.  

How do you decide whether something like abortion is a good thing or a bad thing to do? 

Lisa: I think that’s where education comes in. What you see as good is because of social standards. For example, if you go out in a society where abortion is deemed as not good, then you probably won’t get an abortion. But if you grew up in a more open-minded society, like, ‘oh, yeah, this is why people want to do it’ instead of just thinking, ‘oh, well, you’re taking away somebody’s life,’  then you need to think about what about that person who got raped? Like, do I want the baby in the first place? Because maybe even giving birth to that baby would give them trauma. They might end up having a mental disorder because of that. I guess it’s more like how society views, the real life view of what is good and what is bad. And that’s also due to what the education is saying. I think to decide whether anything is good or bad, you need to think about it, look at both aspects, and then think critically which one you think is the correct one in your mind. With abortion, some people only think about one aspect, not looking at the other one, maybe that’s why they come to, ‘No, I don’t think abortion is the right way.’ But then once you take a look at both sides of the argument, you kind of see like, ‘OK, I can understand why people want to have abortions.’. 

If it all depends on what everybody thinks, is there really anything that’s good or bad or is everything just opinion? 

Lisa: Because we live in a society where we are free of being judged, yes, everything is opinion. But then if you are a person who’s afraid of being judged, if you want to do a bad thing like go murder people, if you don’t think that that is wrong and you are not afraid of being judged by what other people think of your actions, then I guess in your mind it’s the right thing to do. But then, that’s why we have laws. So I think these questions are kind of hard because we have laws that punish people who do bad things. So we already have a standard of what is right and what’s wrong. It’s not like we’re in a society where there are no rules.

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