Interview on February 9, 2023 with Kelly, who is studying to be a dental hygienist, on the quad at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Do you consider yourself religious?
Kelly: No, not really. I’ve just been focusing on myself more. I see the stuff religious organizations do: pastors abusing the poor kids in church, hate groups, the more radicalized groups, homophobia. I don’t like people forcing ideas on others.

Did you grow up religious?
Kelly: Yeah, I would go to church with my mom. It was Catholic, I think. I went to CCD for one year.

Do you believe in God?
Kelly: It depends on what kind of God. I feel like the universe is so large that there is that probability that there is a higher being that created everything. But who knows which religion is right? It’s good to live life as if a God exists, not sinning. Because in that probability that there is a God, you would end up in the good place, heaven or whatever. The chances are of it being beneficial for you at the end to believe that there is a God, rather than not believing. But how can you be sure what religion is right, because there are so many? It’s really hard.

How do you decide what’s living a good life?
Kelly: Exactly! I’m not sure. Not killing, murdering people. Being nice to people, understanding where everyone’s coming from. Not judging. Not forcing your beliefs onto other people, which is why I don’t like more radicalized, more aggressive stuff.

What do you dislike about religion?
Kelly: It depends on the religion, but from what I’ve seen and read on the news, it’s very polarizing. They shine a bad light on radicalized groups imposing their beliefs on other people which isn’t great, because isn’t that against the word of God, like judging other people? There’s bad news about pastors abusing kids and that’s very hypocritical.

Do you believe in any sort of life after death?
Kelly: I love this question. Honestly, I wish, because life is so fun. I want to experience everything, learn more about the world. Because you’re only here for such a short amount of time, you might as well make the most of it. But it would be nice to live through the lives of other people, so maybe reincarnation exists. Or nothing happens. We can’t really tell. But I’ve heard stories of people who die for a few seconds and they see God. That’s pretty interesting. I feel like it’s up to the individual, if they believe that nothing exists, then maybe nothing exists when they see it. But if they believe in God, perhaps there’s a chance that they might see God. But I low-key want the egg theory. It’s a short story on YouTube about dying and the main concept was you die but you’re the universe. After you die, you live the life of someone else. You’re everyone else. It’s confusing, but I kind of like it. It makes you a better person because you’re kind of treating yourself how you would want to be treated, literally.
By Mary Rose

Watch a short video of Kelly.