California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Meleny, who is studying nursing, and Ytzeen, who is studying criminal justice, outside the Humanities and Social Science building at Santa Monica College on October 2, 2019.

Mary Rose/California Catholic Daily: Do you consider yourself religious?

Meleny: No. My family is religious but I just feel like I’m not as into it as they are. So I just go when they tell me to. I go with them to a Catholic church but that’s about it. I do believe there’s a God. 

Ytzeen: Yeah. I started interacting more with my religion. I became a catechist, working with fourth and fifth graders and telling them about God and stuff. I just started doing that and having classes for that. It’s a Catholic church. I used to not practice it. Like, “Come on, let’s go.” And I would be like, “Okay, fine.” I didn’t really want to go. But then I’ve seen my parents’ faith towards God. What is the difference between the life back then where I was struggling and now? Do I see a difference? I used to not practice it and now I can talk to Him, can share stuff quietly. I’m starting to look and find my faith.

If an atheist asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?

Meleny: I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot of things that people bring up and it makes me wonder, is it actually true? But then sometimes I help people pray, people who have cancer. I pray and pray. I feel like there is something after that. So maybe there is. Sometimes I kind of doubt it but then, okay, people pray about things, pray about getting better, so I kind of do believe in it.

Ytzeen: My mom actually didn’t believe in it because she had brothers who passed away, rest in peace, and she would see my grandma, her mom, pray, “Oh please help me, why am I losing my kids? Are You mad at me?” My mom would say she doesn’t believe in God, He’s not doing anything for the pain to go away. But then later on, someone told her He did that for a reason. It’s not because He’s not there or He’s not showing you love. Little by little she started saying it’s real because the pain was that they were taking the kids away because they were in pain. So she would see it like that. At first I was like, “Oh, He’s not real.” I’m not saying that He’s real or not, I don’t know yet. I’m still trying to find my story to see if He is real.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always wrong. What do you think about that?

Meleny: I feel like it’s their choice. They see it as wrong, but there’s also other people that don’t see it that way. I don’t get involved in it because I know that there’s people who are going to agree and disagree so I don’t mention it at all to start a problem or arguing. It’s their decision, their choice. If they can maintain and take care of a kid that’s fine, but there’s other choices like adoption or if they don’t have another choice then that’s on them.

Ytzeen: I’ve always thought if they want to have an abortion, it’s their decision, but they should talk it through. I guess the way they think, the church, is that you’re killing a human being. We see it as wrong because it’s a human being that’s trying to grow. When there’s other problems like rape or the girls don’t want the kids we still say you should have a baby. The baby is not the problem. It’s not the fault of the child. But I still say it’s their choice. There’s another perspective but that’s how I see it: it’s their choice.

If a woman was drowning a two-year-old in the fountain, would you intervene? 

Meleny: Yes, the child has no fault in anything.

Ytzeen: Yes, because the kid isn’t the problem. Parents usually have a lot of problems. Before having a child, why don’t you solve those problems because the kids will come into the problems. The kids don’t have anything to do with it. I would definitely stop that. 

If someone asked you “Who is Jesus?” what would you say?

Meleny: He’s our father, that’s the main thing that I say.

Ytzeen: I say He’s the creator of the world. He’s the main king of creation. We are here because of Him. He’s our father. He’s a father figure. You can always talk to Him in your head or out loud, read His Bible. There’s always something there you can find. He will be there every day. You just have to have faith. 

Every person has their own opinion. They should go the way they think they should go, right or wrong, they’re the one making the decision. Whatever happens to them, I wish them luck.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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