California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Antoinette, who is studying nursing, on the fourth floor at Berkeley City College on March 10, 2020.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Antoinette: I would say I believe in God. I try not to judge. I haven’t been to church in a while, but I used to go to church every Sunday and every Bible study, Wednesday, Thursdays to give back, we used to give back in our church. But now I don’t really do that. I believe in God, but I’m not doing the work.
If someone asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Antoinette: Because I have watched Him. I’ve prayed to Him and then watched Him change my life around, because I was in a horrible state and I watched Him take me out of that depression, take me out of that evil state that I was in. So I would just tell them you have to believe sometimes, you have to have faith in stuff that you can’t see.
If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
Antoinette: That’s a hard question. I would say Jesus is the one that died on the cross, the Son of God, and He died on the cross for all of our sins. Basically our Savior.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Antoinette: Yes, I do believe in the afterlife. I believe that if you live right, or if you have Jesus in your heart, you can go to heaven. Just because you say it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, because everybody does it. So I feel like if you just live by the rules and understand and repent, I feel like there’s an afterlife for you. Either you go to heaven or you go to hell. I remember I used to scare myself because I used to watch videos of people who said they visited hell and what it was like and I’m like, “if they’re seeing this, I should have faith, because if they’re telling you something that they’re seeing, who’s going to make something like this up?” I believe that God is working, and people don’t understand that. They feel like, just because you can’t see Him, He’s not there. But He’s with you every step of the trouble that you go through. God wouldn’t give you nothing that you can’t handle. That’s what I tell myself every day. Sometimes people are hypocrites because they say we have to live a certain way, but they’re not living that same way. And I feel like every action will be just but it will not be just to the extent that they’re trying to portray. So you don’t have to live by every rule, but you have to have love in your heart for everyone. Basically not be judgmental, help people. We’re in a time of need right now, this world is in a crisis. I feel like this is a lesson.
How do you decide what’s right and wrong? How do you avoid going to hell?
Antoinette: You got to have Jesus in your heart. It’s about having faith. It’s about believing and knowing in your heart, you can repent. Everybody’s not perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. You just have to repent. I don’t say you have to do everything. Some people live wrong and they still get blessed. If you have that in your heart and your intention is to be good, then I think He will see that. He can see into everybody’s hearts.
And if someone rejects all that, they can end up in hell?
Antoinette: A lot of people are skeptical. I don’t think that you would go to hell necessarily if you live that way. They say you can go to hell for committing suicide. And I’m like, “okay, now let’s take it to extreme, I can understand it.” But I feel like the only reason you will go to hell is if you did something really bad that you didn’t think was wrong, if you’re just pure evil. But nobody is a pure evil person. Everybody has good intentions. It just sometimes never works out. So if you feel like you’re going to go to hell and you feel like you’re not living right, then you need to change your perspective on life in the way you’re living it. It’s not about what everybody else thinks about. If that person doesn’t believe, just tell them every day, just make sure you’re living right. Because you don’t necessarily have to have Him in your heart.
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