Two Sides of the Same Coin

Even though this post has been inspired in the recent events in Orlando, I’ve tried to refrain from naming any religion in particular, not only because i want to try not to offend anyone or target only a religion, but because what i want here is to discuss an idea. Not an event, not a religion, not a group of people, an idea.

I don’t like religions. I don’t mind religious people and I try to be nice to everyone I meet, a priori, whether they are religious or not. But I don’t like the concept of religion. I always try to make this separation very clear, because criticizing a religion shouldn’t mean criticizing all the people who practice that religion.

Religions are not exempt from criticism, but apparently, criticizing a religion is usually taken personally by people who practice the religion, or taken as “hate speech.”

I would like for people to see that when you criticize a religion, you are talking about an idea, a concept. But if you extend your criticism to all religious people, then it’s discrimination (because you are generalizing), which is, in my opinion, wrong.

Another thing is that religions, at least most of them, take their ideas from a single book, or several. Said-books, mostly allegorical, can be taken in several ways: metaphorically, literally, etc. which makes them open to interpretation.

When something like what happened in Orlando happens and such attack has been claimed by a religious fundamentalist group, many people go and say “This religion is not about hate” or “That religion says nothing about hating gay people.” But here’s the thing: The people who say this have one thing in common with the people who kill in the name of that God or that religion. It is that they are making their own interpretation of that book, so both of them could be right according to that book, for what i said about it being open to interpretation.

It is obvious that not all people who practice one religion have the same ideas about everything. There are many different views about many different subjects within all religious people worldwide. You have peaceful people who go to the church or to a mosque because it’s part of their faith and they have a peaceful approach to their faith, people who help others through religious organizations and all sorts of good stuff, but within that same religion, there’s people whose views are more radical and who feel that what they think about a subject is what all people should feel about that subject, and that’s the problem of fundamentalism, that they take everything too seriously and too literally and are unable to see the metaphors in certain writings.

I remember watching Gaycation a couple months ago and someone saying at a rally that they oppose gay marriage because they feel that if they don’t, their freedom of religion is being taken away. That, in my opinion, is an example of a person who doesn’t understand the concept of faith being something personal. If you really think about it, a man getting married to another man or a woman getting married to another woman does not affect your freedom to believe in whatever it is you want to believe. So gay marriage would not affect you nor your religious freedom, but you not letting two men get married because of your religious views is, in my opinion, oppression. That’s the kind of behavior I dislike from certain religious people.

Now, here’s the thing, whether you like it or not, both, peaceful religious people and violent religious people can be part of the same religion. But hating them all or thinking the acts of a few can be extrapolated to all the people who practice that religion would be wrong for the reasons I’ve previously stated. That being said, we shouldn’t be so naive to assume that religious fundamentalism has nothing to do with religion. Or to say that certain religions have nothing to do with LGBT hate, when the places that homosexuality is punishable by death are also the same countries where certain religions have a distinct majority.

Fundamentalism is simply a single side of the coin, maybe opposite to the other end of the coin, but a side of it nonetheless.

Bio: Joel Amat Güell (born Joel Amat Güell) is not an academy award winning writer, instead he just draws things for a a living. He has designed t-shirts and a huge range of apparel for a lot of clothing companies you’ve probably never heard of and for some others that you probably have.

He has also illustrated comics, colored comics and even read some comics. He has done other stuff too.


About Joel Amat Güell

Joel is an illustrator, graphic designer and writer from Catalunya. He has designed for bands and clothing brands you probably have never heard of and for some that you probably have. He has designed and illustrated other stuff for other people too.

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