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  • Writer's pictureDave Darby

Conspiracy Weary - Conspiracy Theory = Religion? Paranoia?


 

In an ideal world we would all be more tolerant of others, their beliefs and opinions. As long as it doesn’t affect us, why should we be so concerned about someone else’s views on any given subject. However, are there any tangible connections between conspiracy theory, religion and paranoia?

 

Even in our gorgeous little town of Almuñécar on the south coast of Spain, I have listened to friends tell me that the world is flat, that the vapour trails from aircraft are poisoning us on a daily basis, that the Queen of England was a lizard along with many other powerful people, that my children would die or be sterile if they had the Covid vaccine and even that Barack and Michelle Obama were child abusers. My answer is always the same, “And?” I mean, seriously, if any of these things were true, what are we expected to do about it?


Chemtrails

That’s not me being facetious, I just really don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the information. I much prefer to spend my time with my family, laughing about inappropriate, inane stuff, eating nice food and walking my dog. But hey, that’s just me.

 

Mind you, if Brexit, the pandemic and the rise and fall and rise of Donald Trump has taught us one thing, it’s that we are, as human beings, a very divisive bunch.

 

A prime example of this divisiveness was the pandemic and the strongly held views of some about its handling and the use of vaccination. Now this is not a blog knocking conspiracy theorists, it’s a message from the heart for everyone to be just a bit kinder to each other.

 

The problem is that we all have that ingrained belief that we are the best informed and cleverest person in the room.

In an increasingly divisive society, the aforementioned arrival of a certain Mr. Trump as president of the US, followed by the Covid crisis, conditions were set for a perfect political, societal storm.

 

If you ask a deeply religious person to justify the death of a child from cancer or the deaths of hundreds of people in a natural disaster, the mantra is usually “it’s the will of God”. Similarly, if you ask a conspiracy theorist about the US general election, scientific evidence or death figures during the Covid crisis, the mantra is usually “it’s all fake news”. There is just no arguing in either case. It’s a lost cause.

 

So, shouldn’t we treat the conspiracy theorists with the same respect and tolerance we reserve for the religious communities?

 

Of course, it has to swing both ways. A normally very nice English chap recently referred to me as a “stupid f**king vaxxer”. I tried to explain that due to my heart condition I’d decided to take the advice of my cardiologist rather than that given in the video by David Icke which he had referred me to before going for my Covid jab.

 

Whilst I was rather surprised by the venom with which he delivered his verdict on my decision, I could also see in his eyes that there was absolutely no way we could discuss my decision in a civil manner. I may as well have been trying to tell a local priest that God doesn’t exist.

 

However, there was one part of his description of me that was not only correct, but spawned this blog… “stupid”. I don’t have a degree in medicine, I’m not a statistician and my knowledge of science could be written on a postage stamp. But I do think I’m a reasonably logical person. For example, my friend in the UK and his wife decided not to get their kids vaccinated against anything. They felt the risk was too great, yet they are happy to strap all three kids into the back of their Ford Fiesta and drive down the M4 in the pouring rain to go shopping in Bristol. To me, the drive would put the kids at more risk than the Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccine, mainly because, according to the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, after cancer, accidents are the biggest killer of our children. As previously stated, I’m not the brightest of chaps, so my friend may well be correct in seeing no risk in high-speed travel in wet weather, but see extreme risk in the MMR.

 

I would never mention this to my mate, as it would only start him on a rant and while I would be convinced that my logical approach was right, he would be equally convinced of his position.

 

No-one wins. And besides he’s a really good lad, so what’s the point in falling out over what is essentially, nothing more than a difference of opinion over life choices.

 

What about the idea that conspiracy theorists are just paranoid? Well, we have to remember, that for people who believe in these theories, thinking that there are secret plots happening can help them feel better, safer and more connected. It can make them feel like they understand what's going on in difficult or confusing times and help them feel part of a group. People who believe in conspiracies and those who have paranoid thoughts have strong, unfair beliefs that might seem strange. Having said that, unlike conspiracy believers, paranoid people usually think they are the only ones being targeted and they don't have any kind of supportive group. Also, conspiracy theories aren't usually based on something that has happened to them on a personal level.

 

But, whatever you think of someone who believes the world is flat or that the sky is full of poison remember, be tolerant of peoples beliefs and opinions, even if they are far removed from your own… just be kind.

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