California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Steve, who is studying kinesiology, near Lorenzo A. Ramirez Library at Santiago Canyon College in Orange on March 4, 2020.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Steve: Not really. I did go to church when I was a kid. I just felt like it was forced on me. Maybe that’s why I feel this way now. I still have a belief. I don’t know all the questions. My whole family’s religious except for me and my older brother. I would say there are times where I do believe in God. There are times where I don’t. I think it depends on life situations. When I was a kid, I did like going to church, like the environment, but then, middle school years, you start getting rebellious, and I didn’t want to go as much, but I was still forced to go. After that, I wouldn’t say I changed my mind on it, but I just didn’t want to go as much anymore. 

How do you decide what’s right and wrong?

Steve: For me it depends on social, my own morals. It’s mainly how I feel because I do feel for other people, I grew up in a tough environment, growing up poor as a kid, and I do feel for people. I did go down this bad road where I was starting to, I guess you could say, commit some crimes, it was like high school days. But then I had a lot of tragedies in life, family passed away, and after that I just started to think about life and others a lot more. Now I’m going to college, I’m about to transfer. I feel like that’s it, just the social aspects and morals themselves from experiences in life. Like how would I feel if that happened. I don’t really have anything against religion. I just feel like it was a little forced after going through those puberty days and all that. It did change because I was going through this bad road for a while. Because I had my favorite cousin and then he passed away and then after that I did start to think about life, I know there’s a lot more. It’s tribal. Like now, with the debates coming. I do try to have a conversation, but you can’t really do that. So I’m very open. I listen to people from each side and even religious and non-religious as well. 

What do you think about abortion?

Steve: Personally, I would say I am against it, but I’m not a female, so I can’t really speak upon that. I do feel like it is killing a person. I say this with all my friends that are for it. Nowadays, people are scared to give their opinions. I do feel like it’s wrong, but at the same time, how can I say it’s wrong when it’s not really me, affecting me. 

But you could say the same thing about some other crimes, too, that aren’t affecting you. 

Steve: That’s another similar topic. I have a permit for a firearm. So I get involved in those situations where I have to defend myself for some reason. Abortion is a tough topic. I do feel like it’s wrong but everyone has a different opinion on it.

Do you believe in an afterlife? 

Steve: I do think about that one. Everyone thinks about that question. I feel like there is an afterlife, because of near death experiences when people pass away, they come back, they have this experience and it’s nothing really science could explain. It’s just tough because I do like science, but at the same time, there are some things it can’t explain. I would say yes, I do lean towards yes on that.

If someone came up to you and said that science says that there’s no God, what would you say?

Steve: There’s a lot of flaws in science. I’ve never really been in those conversations. But if I was ever in that conversation, I would just tell them, what about how science can’t explain this and this? How would you know if God doesn’t exist, if we can’t explain everything. Humans have flaws. I feel now people who aren’t religious, especially, try to put themselves above God and stuff like that. I feel like I would need more research to get in that debate or conversation. Because me and my older brother are the same, you know, science doesn’t explain everything. A lot of people have similar experiences when they pass away, then they come back to life. Then there are people who say God is the universe. Everyone has a different opinion on what God is. That would be tough to get in that conversation. 

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.