Dear Reader,

California colleges are battlefields for student minds.

Students’ hearts yearn for the truth, but where will they find it?

Our reporter, Mary Rose, will chronicle this battle.

She will visit a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil.

Below is the third installment of California Catholic Daily’s new feature, “Inquiring Minds.”

  • Rojin, psychology major
  • Outside the West LA College bookstore
  • December 4

Mary Rose: Do you consider yourself religious?

Rojin: No.

How do you explain the existence of the world?

Rojin: Science? Big bang theory?

Science doesn’t have an answer for where the original energy and matter came from. Do you ever wonder about that?

Rojin: Yeah, it’s a science thing that they still haven’t discovered. That’s the worst answer, I feel like. I mean, religion is cool, I respect it, but I just don’t practice it.

Do you believe in any sort of afterlife?

Rojin: Maybe like reincarnation, sometimes, but I don’t know. If you see anybody coming back and they say that something exists, well then I guess at that time we [could] believe.

Do you wonder about it enough to think you might study and find out if there’s a higher being or an afterlife?

Rojin: Yeah, that would be cool to figure it out. Maybe, yeah, if I have time.

Do you consider yourself a good person and how do you decide what’s “good”?

Rojin: Yes. Not lying, not stealing, not doing something bad, not hurting people, being nice and polite. Everything that’s basically law, and before law, [what] religion used to tell people to control them. That’s the explanation I figure.

I just feel like many, many, many years ago there weren’t any rules, so people used religion as a kind of weapon to calm people down and have them in order. And now we are more smart, we’re more sophisticated, so we should be able to do that without the force of religion.

  • Female sociology student from LA (who wished to remain anonymous)
  • Outside the West LA College Library in Culver City
  • December 4

Do you consider yourself religious?

Student: Not really, no.

Were you ever religious?

Student: No. My family’s not really religious, they don’t really practice any religion.

Do you believe in any sort of higher power?

Student: I wouldn’t say “no” but I wouldn’t say “yes,” either. I don’t know. I would like to believe that there is something, that there is a higher power, but I don’t know.

How do you explain that the world exists?

Student: Science, actual facts and stuff like that.

Scientists don’t yet have an explanation for where the original matter and energy came from. Do you?

Student: No, I haven’t really looked into it, so I don’t really have an opinion. But if something like that were to be proven, then I would believe them, I guess.

Do you have a moral code?

Student: Yeah, I would say just being a good person, being polite and nice to everybody, not causing problems, I guess. I think religion gives people a sense of purpose. I guess it guides them to do whatever they want in their lives. I have a moral code but I wouldn’t say it’s based off of religion. I would say it’s based off of how my parents taught me and stuff like that.

  • Juan, criminal justice major
  • Outside the West Los Angeles College Library in Culver City
  • December 4

Do you consider yourself religious?

Juan: No.

Were you raised in a religious house?

Juan: Kind of.

What changed?

Juan: I don’t know. Maybe it was because when I was a kid I didn’t feel like going to church. Every hour wasted an hour of my time. Just sit around, listen to someone talk back to me, when in school I do that for like six hours. Plus, I didn’t really care.

Would you consider studying to find an answer about whether there is a higher being or an afterlife?

Juan: No.

You’re happy as you are?

Juan: [Nods]

Why are you studying criminal justice?

Juan: Maybe because I don’t like people who think they’re better than everyone else. Those people who are all like, “I can do this because I don’t care,” or “The police won’t do anything about it.” I just don’t like that kind of people.

You’re pursuing criminal justice to prosecute people for things they chose to do. How do you judge what is wrong?

Juan: I don’t know. Maybe if it hurts someone else. If it does physical harm to someone else or deprives the choice of another person.

Would you agree that an abortion deprives the unborn person of their life and of their choice?

Juan: Yes.

Does that seem wrong?

Juan: I don’t really care about that stuff. I’m kind of on the fence on it, too. One, it’s not really my choice. Two, the other thing is you’re depriving someone else of their life. So, to be honest, I would probably sway either way. I just don’t really care at this point. Whichever way it goes, I’m not going to say anything. I’ll just go along with whoever is in power.

“Inquiring Minds” is a California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.