Interview on February 24, 2022, with Katarin, who is studying political science, outside the Humanities and Social Sciences building at Santa Monica College.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Katarin: Not really. It’s mostly my family who’s very religious. I’m just there to support them and everything else.

Were you raised going to church?

Katarin: Yeah, lots of times, even if I fell asleep at church. My mom would tell me not to. Due to the pandemic and then my grandpa now getting high-risk, my family doesn’t go as much anymore, but sometimes my mom does watch it through Facebook live. So she does technically still go to church. We used to go to one, the Virgin Mary Church or something like that. I don’t remember the name that she used to love to go to.

Do you believe in a God?

Katarin: All this religious stuff, I get confused between Catholic and Christian and all that, but I do believe in Jesus. I do believe in the Virgin Mary. I have her on my necklace and all of that stuff.

When you say that you believe in Jesus and the Virgin Mary, what do you mean?

Katarin: I know they’re there, they’re existing, but I’m still not a hundred percent sure if I want to believe it. I know they’re there, but with all the teaching that I’ve learned through college that people are making Him up, and everything else that I’m still learning, I’m not sure if I want to “believe” and fully support this idea. The old, supportive me says, “Yeah, I’m supporting Him.” I’m believing for my family, but the other side of me is just like, “Am I really doing the right thing for myself, for me?”

When you say that you know that Jesus and the Virgin Mary are there, what do you mean?

Katarin: It’s hard to explain because when it comes to religions, I’m just accepting like, “Yeah, it’s there.” I don’t want to ruin everybody’s mood like, “I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe that.” When they’re there, I mean they’re guiding me, helping me. I know they’re there, like a spiritual guide in a way.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Katarin: I do believe in an afterlife. I believe everyone goes to heaven and at some point we have to get resurrected. Everybody goes to heaven even though we’re all bad. We all have sins, we all have done some nasty stuff. Despite going to church and trying to “cleanse” ourselves, we all have done something despite it.

What do you think heaven is like?

Katarin: I’d say heaven is like the peace of one’s mind. You finally find your comfort. Everybody has a different opinion. Everybody has different ideas. So heaven is just like your own place for yourself. You finally found peace within your soul.

Can you tell me about what you learned in school about Jesus being made up?

Katarin: It was taught in class, I think it was during high school. Everybody kept bringing evidence that the religion was taking over things and it was just made up because there’s no actual, realistic evidence because the Bible’s been rewritten so many times you don’t know which one’s the real copy. So thinking of the reasons religions have messed up the whole country and the natives, everything else, it’s just like, “Am I really contributing to this?” I feel bad being a part of this bloodline of religious stuff, that’s why I’m not very big about it. I guess you could say I’m very ignorant about it. I don’t fully accept it. I’m just ignoring it.