Interview on February 7, 2023 with Ronica, who is studying psychology, on University Library Lawn at CSU Northridge.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Ronica: I guess so, yes. I do pray every night. I grew up in the Philippines and it’s very centered on Catholicism, so all my life I’ve been in Catholic schools. But the habit of praying I got from my dad. He’s Christian. My mom’s Filipino, but my dad is an American. He usually worked overseas, but when he was with us, we would all pray together at night. So I made it a habit to do that every night, as much as I was a person who didn’t always go to church on Sunday or didn’t always participate in Mass. I do make it a habit to show thanks and my gratefulness for whatever has happened and knowing it could be worse. I consider myself a Catholic. That’s what I mostly grew up around and in the Philippines in Catholic schools we have a religion subject and practice the rosary, Ash Wednesday, all that. And I was baptized.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Ronica: The Son of God Who died for our sins and Who was an example of who we should be as human beings.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Ronica: My thing is that there are so many different theories: there’s heaven, hell, purgatory, there’s afterlife and rebirth and whatnot. I try not to dwell so much on it and really try to find an answer because I don’t think it’s ever going to be proven. So just living a good life and being a good person, whatever happens after that, as long as I’ve made my mark here then that’s what’s important to me.
How do you decide what’s good?
Ronica: If it affects people in a positive way. I’m a big believer in making sure you don’t try to intervene in other people’s business. Whatever other people want to believe in, you kind of just stick to your own values and your own morals, as long as it’s not impeding on other people’s success or their growth, that to me is living a good life. Trying your best to really find yourself and make an impact in the world.
If someone is hurting someone else, do you interfere?
Ronica: If I’m in the capacity to do so, and if you were in law enforcement and it’s your responsibility to help people and you’re given that task, then yes. If you see something, say something, but if you try to make it your goal to go out and search for trouble to intervene in, that to me is not completely right. But if you see it and something’s happening and you feel like you could do something about it, then yes, definitely.
How would you decide if abortion is right or wrong?
Ronica: As much as I’m religious, I’m also someone who is big on science, too. I’d say that whatever my values are, my beliefs are, that’s on me. I can’t push that onto others based on religion because everyone has their own life and their own experiences that I could never even imagine. So if someone else wants to do it, that’s their situation, that’s their choice. There are so many different instances that we could barely imagine that could happen to us and that could be an option. So we never know, but I personally would probably never do it. But if I end up in someone else’s situation where I get raped by a stranger or a relative or anything like that then it’s easy to say, “Oh, that’s wrong,” or “You shouldn’t do that,” but you never know, you’re never in someone else’s shoes. If we’re going to base things off of our own beliefs, then I don’t think it’s right to push it onto other people.
You would never have an abortion and mentioned that it’s easy to say it’s wrong – why is it wrong?
Ronica: I didn’t mean that it’s easy to say it’s wrong, I mean it’s easy to say that you wouldn’t do it because you don’t know what you would do in that situation. We recently did a study in psychology where there are people who would say that they would never knowingly tase someone. But then there’s a study where they were told to do something and just certain situations make you do it. You’d never think you would do it, and it’s easy to think, “Oh, I would never do that, how could they do that,” but you never know. The question of whether it’s wrong or not, it’s controversial for a reason. I wouldn’t say it’s wrong. I’d say it’s up to that person to decide based on their experiences.
If a biological male says he is a woman, or if a female says she is a man, is that true?
Ronica: Gender or sexuality? Because I think those are two very different things. It’s a concept and I think it’s up to that person to decide whatever it is that they’re feeling. I’d say go for it. It doesn’t affect me and I don’t think that them changing their gender or changing their sexuality affects anyone else, either. I feel like it’s none of my business to form an opinion on that because I’ve never been in a position where I felt like I wasn’t really myself.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Ronica: I saw this somewhere and it’s kind of like: if we see a building, we don’t see the person building it, but we know that someone built it. That’s how I see it. There are different theories on how the universe came about, there are a lot of things in the Bible, but the way I see it is that God made things for us to understand it, to use signs to help us understand how the world was created, and to believe that He has helped us through all that. There are certain things that you don’t have to see to believe, it’s just that feeling and it’s a comforting feeling and I find it therapeutic when I pray and I give myself time to remember all the good things that have happened to my life and the blessings that I’ve had that wouldn’t have happened without help from God. You either have faith or you don’t.