California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Cesar, who is studying electrical construction, outside the Student Support Center (the Hub) at LA Trade Technical College on October 2, 2019.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Cesar: Yes, basically just having faith in myself and making sure I do everything that I have to do. I notice that people use religion as a form of support in their everyday lives. I don’t really need it because I’m confident in everything that I do, but it does play a factor in my life because I grew up in a religious family since I was a little kid. They go to church every Sunday. I kind of stopped. It’s St. Joseph’s, and I still go there. It’s funny because they have a fair every year and I’ve gone every year. I’m 18, 19 but I still go. It does play a role in my life. I do believe in God.
Did your church have a youth group?
Cesar: Yeah, I used to go to it all the time. Every Friday. They focused on social activities and communication skills. They throw in religion on every little activity obviously, because of where it’s at.
If an atheist asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?
Cesar: There’s no evidence that there is a God. In the end it comes down to what one thinks. To be honest, I have my things about religion, but I’m from a group in a religious household so it’s not like, oh, total atheist, but I do have my questions about it, too. Basically, I’m not hundred percent sure there is a God.
Do you have a moral code that comes from your religious background?
Cesar: I don’t have a moral code. I kind of just believe in doing good work and just good energy. From a little kid you kind of learn what’s good and what’s bad. You don’t really learn that in religion. You bring what you have as a person to the religion you grew up in and then you work with that.
What do you think about the Catholic Church’s teaching that abortion is always wrong?
Cesar: That’s where I think that people get the wrong idea. I guess you could say that there is a lot of Catholics, but everybody’s different. I don’t necessarily believe that you should believe what the Church believes because I’m not like that. With abortion, at the end of the day it comes down to the people and their situation. If they think that’s the best solution then, you know? I don’t agree that it’s always bad or trying to preach that it’s bad because I feel like everyone should have their own opinion on it. Usually when abortion is even thought of – I’m telling you from personal experience because there were a lot of high school girls who ended up pregnant – they think of the now. Right now it’s a problem. Yes, you’re pregnant, you don’t know what to do. Usually the best thing to do, period, in any situation is to think of the future. But usually, in situations like that, they’re thinking of the now. They take action based off of the now. They don’t think.
Why should they have the legal right to kill their babies before they’re born, but not after?
Cesar: I don’t know. I guess people just made it like that. I get what you’re saying: killing a baby is not any different from killing a kid once they’re like 3, 4, 5. I agree with that point. It’s a good point. I’ve never really thought of that. I’ve even done research projects about it. Yeah, I don’t see any difference.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Cesar: It’s funny. That question comes to mind randomly all the time. Like, all the time, all the time, all the time. I don’t. I don’t think so. The thing that threw me off track was as I got older, I started learning about all the different religions and there are religions that are older than the one I have been taught. Kind of like, “what?!” So I put logic into that and I don’t think there’s an afterlife. I see why people believe, though. I feel like religion helps those people who can’t deal with life, basically. It gives you something to look forward to. Some people need that. Others already have it in them. They don’t need to worship somebody to do whatever it is they have to do or to be a good person. You can be a good person and not be religious, still have your morals. Not believing in an afterlife is kind of a bummer. No matter what, everybody comes up with just the same ending. That’s not the meaning of life, though. Life is bigger than that. I feel like it’s important to leave a print here in life, do something, make it meaningful while we’re at it. It’s not like I’m all depressed. It sounds depressing, but no. I feel like death is however you make it. I’ll try to leave a print in life, whether it’s with my future kids or something else.
California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.
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