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.
If you enjoyed this story, consider making a donation to support Mary Rose and the Inquiring Minds column, so that we can continue to provide this insight into the religious beliefs of California college students. You can do so by visiting our Donation Page.
Excellent! Then she shouldn’t teach children anything about any of her beliefs either. Just let them think that they’re in charge of the world and that eating ice cream is the best thing you can do for yourself. LOL
I think Uncle Joe Biden is considering her for Secretary of Education.
Got to get rid of that evil Betsy DeVos, who is pro-choice in education and refuses to kneel before the teachers union bosses.
Your response is terribly rude. The young lady needs prayers and education. I know many people whose parents chose to let them “decide” as adults but never taught them anything. I realize how blessed I was to have the true faith force fed to me, so that, after many years facing the world in which atheism and cynicism were prized, I had a solid foundation to come back to.
Point taken. You are correct that this young woman needs prayers, conversion and education, like all of us. I should not let my frustration with our “Catholic brother” Joe Biden’s anti-Christian extremism be “taken out” on this misguided young person or anyone else.
“But when Jesus he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them,
because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”
another lost sheep … seems beyond reach
Good Shepherd, help us and save us
Why are you printing examples of kids NOT living a Catholic life in a Catholic paper? Do you condone this “Moral Code”? because when you print it you implicitly endorse it. Showing examples of how young people are living a good Catholic life helps others live a good Catholic life. Stop printimg this trash!
Keith, I don’t totally agree with you. Yes, it would be nice if this series had more examples of kids living good Catholic lives. But … Where to find them? Most of the “catholic” kids that have been interviewed aren’t much different than the woman in this article. Too many Catholics in their later teens and early twenties don’t believe what the church teaches. My 20-something grandchildren went through 8-12 years of religious classes, first communion, confirmation, etc, but none go to church anymore, have their kids in religious classes, or really believe anything they learned in their school years. The same is true of my children in their 50s. But for them, I think the last straw was the sex abuse scandal that drove them from the church and opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to abortion. It is safe to say that the culture is winning the battle against church beliefs.
In California, you find them at John Paul the Great in San Diego or Thomas Aquinas in Santa Paula.
My 20 something family member is a devout Catholic, daily Rosary, goes to Sacrament of Reconciliation monthly.
My 30 something family members go to Mass and have gotten all children their sacraments and have had 2 spouses convert.
But there is also a 20 something family member who has fallen in love with a person who is hostile to all religion. We have been praying for them.
Keep praying. I recommend the Rosary and Mary, Undoer of Knots.
The best way to determine that the Bible is the Word of God is to read it. That is what happened with me. There is just a sense when you read it that it is not of human origin.
The Church is not of human origin either. There is a story that the late bishop Fulton Sheen told: He had been instructing a gentleman in preparation for entering the Church (getting baptized, receiving Holy Communion, being confirmed). The gentleman was going to Rome and had an audience at the Vatican. Bishop Sheen was distressed, thinking that if he saw how badly things were run at the Vatican, the man would not enter the Church. The man went; he returned and asked to be baptized right away. Bishop Sheen was surprised. The gentleman said he was convinced of the Divine origin of the Church because no organization that was run that badly could exist for centuries unless it truly was of God.
Such a sad reality that has happened since dawn of Christianity. Catholic parents who neglect their duties. Its never too late to catechetize and educate her, she needs guidance that her parents lacked in the Faith department. Until someone dies and leaves this earth, its never too late to save a soul. Thats the primary mission of the Church. This is a great opportunity for her teachers and religious to use. Prayers for her education. St. Monica prayed for years for her son Augustin who finally did embrace the Faith. Nothing is impossible with Faith. Best of luck to this misguided girl. Who knows what great things she will do in this life???
She is a product of her “education”. She was sent to school to “learn” and the result shows.