California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Terra, who is studying economics, by the Bay Tree Building at UC Santa Cruz on January 28, 2020.

Do you consider yourself religious? 

Terra: No. My family used to be. I was mostly just following religion because that’s what I had been told my whole life. And then I got my own sort of sense of self and learning about things for myself instead of just listening to what the people that I looked up to thought. It’s just I realized that religion had so many rules and things that just did not make sense to me. And I decided that that’s not something that I wanted to believe in and associate with anymore. My immediate family has sort of branched away from my grandparents. My mom was raised really Catholic and she decided not to send me or my sister to a Catholic school because she just had an awful experience. I think religion is more of something that people believe in when they need an explanation for things that they can’t control. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I’m supportive of every religion. I just don’t personally want to identify with a religion and to me the concept of a god doesn’t make sense. 

What is your moral code? 

Terra: It’s always good to be kind to people, there’s no reason to be mean to anybody, no matter their circumstance. I just think that people need to be accepted, no matter what, even if they’ve made a mistake in their life. If it’s hurting someone or hurting myself, I think that’s not a good thing to do.

What do you think about abortion? 

Terra: I’m definitely pro-choice because this thing that is growing inside of a woman can be a life and it can be a person, but deciding to get rid of that potential life that does not have bones or a mind really belongs to the person that is going to be giving up nine months of their life to sacrifice for that. My father was put up for adoption. He would never even adopt a child and I think that says a lot. A lot of awful things happened to him, even though he was adopted into a kind, Christian home. So I think it should be the choice of the person who is going to have to deal with that.

Do you have an explanation for where everything came from? 

Terra: Science. I don’t have a personal scientific theory that I created on my own, but I’ve definitely done some research and there is an explanation for that. The Big Bang theory is a big one. I don’t think some man in the sky or some weird entity made that. I just don’t think that’s possible.

How would you explain the concept of Jesus to somebody?

Terra: I think Jesus was possibly a real person. I think he wasn’t white like in all these pictures that we see, which is just another thing of Catholicism and Christianity just whitewashing everything. He very well could have been a real person but I don’t think he had all these powers and was the son of God. And Mary was not a virgin. That’s just biologically not possible, especially if he was a real person. 

Do you know what your mom’s bad experience with Catholicism was?

Terra: Do you know what Catholic guilt is? She’s almost 50 years old and still struggles with her own sexuality. I mean, everything. She says she feels like she has to go to confession about anything that she does that could possibly be seen wrong. The nuns and all that stuff, I mean, she got hit with rulers and all these things. She had friends who were sexually abused by people who were supposed to be in power in her school.

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