Interview on March 7, 2022, with Alberto, who is studying computer science, in L Quad at De Anza College in Cupertino, California.
Do you consider yourself religious?
Alberto: Yes, I do. My parents are super religious. I’m Catholic. I carry around my gold chain. It’s very weird since in this modern age, you see so many things about how God isn’t real, how there isn’t religion, how the world is made. I’m watching a show called the Big Bang Theory, so it’s contradicting my whole religion, but I just see it as the Bible is a good thing, you should follow it. Even if it’s fake, it’s still amazing to just follow it. I don’t have religion much in my life, but I always think about how it’s a good thing.
How is religion a good thing?
Alberto: I would think back to the Ten Commandments. I am so far gone in my religion that I don’t even remember most of them, but the key ones like treat everybody like your neighbor, or have respect for your parents, I believe heavily in all that stuff. Of course some things are outdated, but I guess you can say: if everybody did what Jesus would do, a lot of the world would be greater.
Do you think there is any evidence for the existence of God?
Alberto: You hear all these stories like, “oh, there’s a footprint of a troll, of a giant,” how there were giants back in the day, how “this is where Jesus was crucified.” To be quite honest with you, I believe there’s no proof at all and it’s all just misinformation.
Do you think the people who disobey the Ten Commandments or who are unkind to people are doing wrong? Are they committing sins?
Alberto: No. I heard a podcast long ago that says no one goes to hell, that’s just a lie, but that everybody’s destined to go to heaven. I believe everybody has their right to do whatever they like. I just also believe that if you put your own morals on yourself and you believe you’re doing what’s right, that’s all that matters. It’s not someone’s to blame. Just do what you gotta do.
You mentioned at the beginning that wearing your chain is part of why you consider yourself religious. Why do you wear the chain?
Alberto: The reason I wear my chain would have to be my mother. My mother is super religious and she gave me this chain and ever since I was young I had it on. The second reason is that I like the idea that I’m following my religion. I like the idea that I still think about my religion. I like the idea that I don’t forget what I should be doing, what the Bible tells me to do. I don’t read the Bible that much, but it’s good knowing that I have this constant idea around my neck about my religion.
If someone asked you about your crucifix, asked what it is on the cross around your neck, what would you say?
Alberto: I would say a religious idea that someone died for our sins.
What if they asked what it means to say that someone died for our sins? And didn’t you say that there are no sins?
Alberto: Oh yeah, I did. I would say it captures what some people believe happened a long time ago where some Man who came from God went on the cross and died for all of us. Of course I would have to say only some people believe that, which I believe in.
When you say that you believe it, does that mean that you think it is true?
Alberto: Yes. I’ve been stuck on that question for years, but I would have to say yes.
So if someone says, “I don’t believe Jesus ever lived, I don’t think there is a God,” are they wrong?
Alberto: No. My best friend was atheist.
But if it’s true that Jesus lived, they would have to be wrong.
Alberto: Yeah. But what does it matter to me?
You said that you believe everyone goes to heaven. What is heaven?
Alberto: I would say heaven is a place where you understand everything, where you have no questions. Every question is answered and you are completely in bliss, whether that be you being with your family, whether that be all your cravings. Of course it would be white. I don’t know what white symbolizes.
Do you think we have bodies there?
Alberto: Heaven for me would be with my mom, so I would like to think that when I go to heaven, I would see my mom as I see her now, which would be in a human body.
Where do you think the Bible came from?
Alberto: I haven’t done any research about it. I would have to think someone made it up. Someone just kept on writing for profit, for religious people to have profit, or them actually trying to spread word about doing good, but it was nothing like: God sent down a Bible. It was somebody here. I would want to say they were influenced by Jesus.