California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Alex, who is studying early childhood education, beside the Student Center at Laney College in Oakland on March 10, 2020.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Alex: Not personally, but my dad is baptized and my mom went to Catholic school. My brother goes to church. It’s just the way that my parents decided to raise us was that you get to choose and I never really found an interest in it. I was curious because my sister goes to church, so I’ve gone to church with her a couple of times, but it never really clicked for me. I didn’t understand how something that I consider manmade could have such a devotion. And the way that people say, at least for the Bible, “Oh, this is the word of God” or whatever. But how do you really know? And man made it. So what makes you think that this divine power really believes that? So it just never clicked for me. It’s just like, live your life.
Do you believe in any sort of higher power?
Alex: I would consider myself more monotheistic than anything. Not really like there’s one God or anything like that. The one religion that appeals the most to me is Greek mythology because another of my beliefs is that one entity can’t control so much power. But I’m not a practicing religious person. I just, like I said, live my life. It’s just something that I heard or was reading something. And I’m like, “okay, well that sounds nice.” It wasn’t really like a “yeah!”
How did you develop your moral code?
Alex: My moral code was developed from my family, like my grandmother who had drug abuse issues, and most of our lives she grew up teaching us or telling us that people were allowed to do whatever they want, that everybody is accepted and that no matter what you do, you can always come back and talk to me. There’s nothing that you can do that can be so wrong to where you won’t be allowed in this house or accepted. She’s a major factor in who I am today, seeing the good in people. Everybody has the potential to do good. I learned recently that people who are on parole or in jail aren’t allowed to vote. I felt like that was really wrong because they’re still citizens and the stuff that we’re voting on out here still impacts them while they’re in jail or on parole. And a lot of that is what I’ve developed from my family.
What do you think about abortion?
Alex: People have a right to do what they want to do with their body. Nobody has an input other than them or their doctor. And if they decide the person that they had the baby with – because it’s not anybody else’s business. And outside people, you don’t know what might be going on with them to where they’re not able to have a kid or maybe they’re just not ready. They have some other problems. It’s all completely up to them and nobody else’s business.
What if someone said that abortion ends the life of a human being and the life of that human should be legally protected?
Alex: The problem is there’s no one clear definition of what is life. At what point does life start. There are people who say as early as conception or as soon as they have a heartbeat or once they’re born their life starts. There’s no clear definition. So you can’t really define whether they’re murdering or not.
What if someone said that if we don’t know if we’re killing someone, we should avoid the possibility?
Alex: That’s like saying, if you don’t know you’re going to get sick shouldn’t you not wash your hands or something like that. There’s so many – there’s a wide possibility of things. One. And two, if they’re medically not able to have a kid or they’re mentally not able to have the kid, who are you to say that that’s not worth it for them, for their one life. Because either way, if they’re medically not able to have a kid, then that’s one lifetime, no matter what. And if they’re mentally not able to have a kid, then why would they potentially put that other people’s lives in danger for something that they could avoid.
It sounds like your moral code is that everyone should mind their own business?
Alex: More everyone has the option to live their life the way that they want. Not so much, you can’t, or you shouldn’t, help your friends, help other people out. But I do feel like if I need help, I’ll ask for it. And if you offer it, that’s fine. But don’t impose your view on other people. We can have a discussion. We can debate. But don’t try and tell me that what I believe is wrong and I won’t do the same.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Alex: I don’t know. I don’t really think about it mostly because it hasn’t been something that has developed in my life. I haven’t experienced anybody in my family dying yet, so I haven’t thought about, “well what are they going through?” Well, no, I believe in reincarnation.
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