The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Editor’s Forum

Born and raised Roman Catholic, a religion that seems to encourage self-sacrifice, there are many activities from which I hold back from participating.

This is not to say that I am not content with my life. However, I highly doubt that if I lacked a religious background I would follow some of the principles that at this time are essential to my life.

Last semester in my cultural anthropology class, I read a book in which the author attempted to explain the high rate of schizophrenia among rural Irish men by emphasizing their frustrated sexual lives. The author then argued that the firm religious belief in premarital celibacy had caused these men to have this mental disease.

I am not schizophrenic, but like those men, I also practice premarital celibacy. Nevertheless, class discussions regarding the importance of religion among this group of devout Catholics allowed me to realize that my behavior is directly affected by my fear of God, not necessarily the pureness of my heart.

Although I am not necessarily a devout Catholic, given I still have trouble reciting “Our Father,” religion has influenced various aspects of my life.

I adhere to my curfew, even though I believe I am too old to even have one. I try to respect others, I honor my parents and make an effort to be an honest, law-abiding citizen.

True, I do falter sometimes, but I try really hard to follow the 10 Commandments, which I couldn’t remember during a quiz in my Bible study class.

Growing up, I never realized that all those times I said “no” to questionable parties, drugs and sex, I did so because I feared that when I die, St. Peter would keep me from the gates of heaven.

As I look around, I realize that the motley crew I socialize with also seems to have more or less a healthy fear of God. However, I have encountered people throughout my life who do not necessarily believe in God or have any religious affiliation, but they have the same moral standards I do.

I must admit that this is a foreign concept to me. Although I am ashamed to even admit it, I know that if I did not recognize an afterlife I would not have made these decisions. I would have partied a little harder, dated a lot more, experimental with various drugs and done a little less studying. As awful as this sounds, I am afraid that if I did not believe that God is watching my every move, I would not preserve the principles that have been impressed upon me.

It is embarrassing to think about the things we do when we assume that no one is watching. As a child, I did some disgusting things when I thought no one was watching.

One memory that stands out is playing with matches. I was a budding arsonist. What is worse is that I would hide behind our natural gas stove to hide from my parents; thank God I was never incinerated.

My point is that my religious beliefs have molded my life. Therefore, I would like to commend all the people who choose to do the right thing because they want to, not because they fear God’s wrath.

I don’t mean to take the victory away from the people, who like my friends and I, are concerned with the spiritual consequences disobedience may bring. However, courage is defined by a person’s ability to overcome fear and not the desire to be a hero.

I am aware that the way I have chosen to live my life is not the only way or even the right way to lead life; ultimately, the only thing that matters is our satisfaction with the decisions we make.

Hernandez is in her first semester with the Union. The weekly forum does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board.

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