Interview on February 24, 2022 with Darma, who is studying English, outside the Math Business Allied Health building at El Camino College in Torrance, California.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Darma: I don’t like religion, but I do believe in a higher power. I do believe in a God. I was raised religious. I was raised in Christian family.

Why don’t you like religion?

Darma: I had a rough upbringing and my mother is from a second world country so religion is very strict and was pushed down my throat to the point where I resented it a bit. It lost its appeal and I don’t follow its guidelines.

Do you think there’s evidence for the existence of God?

Darma: I think so. I’m very into mystery or true crime so I’ve heard stories where people in dire situations somehow get out of there alive and I like the concept of miracles. So yeah, I think there’s evidence of godly intervention.

Do you think it’s true to say that there is a God and that an atheist would be wrong to say there is no God?

Darma: No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s all subjective. I would never start a discussion over beliefs because that’s very subjective. If I were to talk to an atheist and they said they don’t believe in God, I would respect their position. But personally believing there’s a God gives me hope and motivation when I’m in my saddest. For that atheist, I would hope that they have their own separate, whatever keeps them going, but for me, yeah, there’s a God.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Darma: Yes, I do believe in an afterlife but no, I don’t believe we all go to the same place.

Why doesn’t everyone go to the same place?

Darma: Because I think there are monsters out there that look like us, like people, and sometimes monsters don’t face justice or they don’t see any sort of consequence in this life, so I would hope that they see the light of day for their actions. 

If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?

Darma: I would say that He was a man, who happened to be God’s Son here on earth and He did miraculous things and He spread word about what God told Him and He did His best to spread that word, that kindness, that hope people needed. And that He paid for our sins and we thank Him every day for His sacrifice, because He did sacrifice Himself. 

Do you still believe that?

Darma: I’m not too sure. I don’t think so because monsters still exist among us. I feel like if it were true, there would be a little more goodness in the world than what we see now.

Where does the idea that there is right and wrong, that some people are monsters, come from?

Darma: I’m not black and white about wrongness, there are varying degrees, but where I would draw the line of wrongdoing is malicious intent or the intention of hurting people in all capacities. If someone is bullying you maliciously, that’s not a monster, but just hurting people the most chaotic way you can. I guess just hurting people.

What about abortion, where the intention is to terminate the life of the fetus?

Darma: I believe in the girl or woman’s safety first. If that individual is aware of the circumstances that they’re in and they know for sure that they cannot provide the adequate care that a child needs, or even if they can’t stand the thought of a child – some people hate kids, some girls hate kids – and they don’t want a kid so they abort it, I respect that. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. I was in the foster care system. I’ve seen plenty of children like myself that weren’t wanted or were unable to be cared for adequately and that’s not fair. That isn’t fair to the mother, that isn’t fair to the child. I take no issue with abortion because, at the end of the day, it’s doing what’s best and although it looks ugly, it is what’s best.

But you wouldn’t say it’s okay to kill a child who’s born and being abused, right?

Darma: With a child that’s already in this world, no it’s not okay to murder them.

What’s the difference?

Darma: Lack of thought, lack of consideration because you have eight months to create this child within you and you have at least three months to think about, “Okay, am I going to be a mother? With or without a father? Do I have adequate support?” It’s thought, it’s consideration, it’s being firm in your stance of being a mother. You know the difference between mother and mom? Mom is more of an affectionate term and mother is just what you are biologically. There’s a difference and it’s the same between a father or a dad. There’s a difference. One has a bond to it and the other is just our biological relationship and that doesn’t mean a thing. It’s really unfortunate, but you just know in your heart whether you can do it or not, be a parent at any age.