California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Maya, who is studying sociology, by the Kirkorian Pavilion at West Valley College in Saratoga on October 21, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Maya: No. My mother is, and my cousins and their family, but I don’t personally believe. When I was little I guess I did in the sense that I just thought that’s what everybody thought. I was raised to believe in God but I never had any personal faith and once I knew that you didn’t have to believe, I realized I didn’t. So I don’t consider myself to have had any real faith. When I was in grade school, like 9 or 8 something like that, my dad was just like, “Well, you don’t have to believe in God,” and I was like, “What? Oh, okay. I guess I don’t then.”

Do you ever talk about it with your mom?

Maya: Yeah, totally, especially recently because my dad is a little bit not as accepting of religions and so I make an effort to allow her to practice and speak to me about it peacefully.

Did you develop a moral code?

Maya: Yeah, my personal belief is that we get our moral codes from our social circles. I’ve always been an empathetic person, so my parents say, and they taught me not to steal and whatever.

VIDEO: Where Maya’s moral code comes from

How do you believe the world came to be?

Maya: I personally believe in Darwinism and that kind of evolution and the Big Bang and all that.  There’s all these fun theories about where the original matter came from. I believe that whatever soccer ball-like system of pre atoms that existed before the Big Bang didn’t need to follow our laws of nature. If we’re assuming in this case evolution is real, if all life on earth started from a central organism, then life on a different planet would be completely different because you would have a different starting point. If everything branches out from the same thing then there’s only a certain number of select traits and characteristics that it can have because of its original starting point.

My theory is that that little soccer ball that the whole universe came from, everything that we know of as a natural law, things that are just mathematically proven to be correct, like gravity, are central to this ball universe that then exploded and became our universe. Everything existing outside of that doesn’t need to follow those same laws in the same way that a hypothetical alien wouldn’t need to be carbon-based because carbon-based life is something unique to Earth that happened because of that original organism. I’m sorry, I’ve never explained this before.

The concept that matter cannot be created or destroyed is something that we think of as an absolute law of nature, but that’s an absolute law of nature within the soccer ball. So just as all life needing some form of carbon is an absolute law within our concept of life on Earth but life on Mars might not need carbon, then maybe outside of the soccer ball, matter can be created or destroyed. No scientist says what I’m saying, so please do not cite that as a common atheist perspective. I guess a true answer to that question is I don’t know. I accept that I don’t know and I’m okay not knowing but it’s fun to imagine that stuff. I think there’s a lot of knowledge in knowing that you don’t know, acknowledging that we have no possible way of knowing where that soccer ball came from or what’s around it or are they more of them. We have no way of knowing so all we have is silly speculation and theorizing.

What do you think about the argument that the order in mathematics discovered but not created by humans, like the Pythagorean theorem, is a sign of an eternal intelligent Being?

Maya: That’s an interesting concept that I base around the idea that, as humans, we have a really hard time comprehending or accepting that extremely complex things can exist that we didn’t effect. Things can happen that seem so crazy and so impossible and we think, “How did that just happen on its own? I’ve never seen it happen like that, that doesn’t make sense to my worldview of how things work.” It’s a very human thing to have a hard time comprehending that. I believe that those very specific and complex and seemingly very intelligent things that we find in nature are just really cool and special. And that’s awesome. In the same way with convergent evolution we have a hard time seeing cephalopods like octopi with eyes because they evolved completely separately from other mammals, even lizards and stuff. But we both have eyes and so it’s hard for people to think how could there have not been a creator or a designer to put eyes in both of these insanely genetically diverse creatures. It’s hard for us to understand that an eye is just a really helpful organ and they might have just evolved separately.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Maya: No, but I wish I did.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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