Interview on March 7, 2022, at College of San Mateo with Andres, who is studying computer science, near the College Center and with Miguel, who is studying nutrition, near the Emerging Technologies Building.


Do you consider yourself religious?

Andres: I used to, but no. My family and I grew up with Christianity and I don’t know what happened, but I just stopped going to church. 

Do you believe in God or any sort of higher power?

Andres: At one point I did, but at this moment, no, I don’t.

Are you an atheist?

Andres: No. I don’t know where to put myself in terms of religions and believing in higher power. Right now, I’m just me.

Was your family any particular type of Christian?

Andres: I don’t remember the specifics about the branches of Christianity and whatnot, but people in Panama, that’s my hometown, most of them are very religious. I think the values of Christianity have made me a better person, but that’s what I would leave it at. I’m not a devout believer or anything of the sort.

How do you decide what’s a better person or a worse person?

Andres: I give respect to others. People give respect to me in return. I share with others, people share with me stuff in return. It’s like a give and take. If you give out kindness, you often receive kindness in return. That’s what I choose to believe. 

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Andres: At one point, I thought maybe when I die, I will leave my body and I will wander around endlessly. And I thought, maybe I could see all sorts of stuff now that I don’t have a body, but it was just a fleeting idea. It’s nothing of the sort that I will give it any talk.

Do you believe in sin, that some acts are evil?

Andres: Well, people are evil sometimes, but also people are good. It depends on your point of view because me doing something might be considered good by somebody, but from somebody else’s perspective might be evil, that sort of thing.

Is there anything that’s evil no matter what people think about it?

Andres: I think taking a life is not a good thing, but I wouldn’t consider it evil because you might have your reasons, too, but I still think that’s wrong. I wouldn’t trample over somebody else’s happiness.

What if you saw a woman drowning a two-year-old and you didn’t know her reasons– ?

Andres: Would I stop her? Yeah, I would stop her. Maybe that’s just me, I have little brothers and sisters, but I wouldn’t want to see them drowned either. I don’t think anybody deserves to be drowned.

What about abortion, where you don’t know the woman’s reasons, either?

Andres: I wouldn’t know her reasons until we speak, but it’s not like I’m completely against it, but I’m also not in favor of it either.

What’s the difference between the two-year-old being drowned and the baby being killed before birth?

Andres: I don’t think there’s any difference.

Why would you stop one and not the other?

Andres: Depending on the situation. If the pregnancy was affecting the mother’s health and it would eventually kill her, I would say to prioritize the mother’s life. But if the mother is actually trying to drown her baby, that’s a different pattern.

What if the mother of the two-year-old is living in chaos, her life is falling apart, and having to care for the child is just too much? Do you think it would be okay for her to drown her child?

Andres: I wouldn’t know myself until I talked to her, but if I had a child and my life was falling apart, I would not consider drowning it for whatever reason. I don’t think that trampling over somebody’s happiness is a good thing, even though your environment might not be happy.

What do you think about making abortion illegal?

Andres: I think there are exceptions, but I don’t think those exceptions should be the norm. Maybe because I grew up as a Christian, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about being pro-abortion or whatever, but I’m not particularly in favor of either. But if it saves somebody’s life in the process, even though one is taken, then I don’t know. That’s very difficult to decide.


Do you consider yourself religious?

Miguel: No. I just take time every morning and evening to pray, “Hey, thank you for giving me another day to live. Thank you for the challenges for today. I’ve learned a lot,” like that, and then I usually pray for my future. My auntie’s a nun and every time I ask her, “Can you pray for me because I’m having a hard time right now,” she does. My family’s a religious one, they go to church. Somehow I didn’t go to that because going to the church is not the real person. I think for me, my god, he will understand that my time for him is morning and night, he will consider that. Because other people go in to church and after that they’re like a s*** outside. 

Do you have a moral code? Do you believe in good and evil?

Miguel: I believe in both of them, but I don’t see any problem with having good and evil, because I think your life will not be balanced when you’re doing only good. You need an evil side also, because your life will be imperfectly balanced when you’re doing good only. 

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Miguel: Yeah, I believe the afterlife is when you’ve passed your mission here on earth and you’ve already done so much here and that’s when you go into your afterlife.

Do you believe some people go to a good place in the afterlife and some people go to a bad place?

Miguel: There’s no bad place. I think the bad place is already here. There’s a lot of challenges here and I think we are going to the same place.

Do you think murderers go to the same place as everyone else?

Miguel: Everything happens for a reason. Those murderers need help. Murderers are in need of psychological help and we need to help them. We don’t need to kill them.