Anthony Boynton said:
Antivaccers have joined quasi religious movements for which there is no sure cure. Look at the survival or religion into the 21st century. People are capable of believing irrational ideas and holding on to them in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary of those ideas.
Ken Hiebert replies:
While I cannot claim to be well versed in all that Marx wrote about religion, I think I have grasped some of what he said. He did not say, “What’s wrong with these people? This is irrational.” Rather he sought a materialist explanation for religious adherence. He pointed to human misery, fear and insecurity.
Religious observance varies with the material conditions in which people live. Many of us are familiar with the phenomenon of hollowed out religious observance, the people who maintain the facade of religious belief by attending church once a year at Easter. On paper, they are still counted as Christians. But religion has receded to a small corner of their lives. I think this is because they have achieved some degree of fulfillment and security in their lives.
In Canada we can point to the experience in Quebec. Quebec was once regarded as “priest-ridden.” Within a few decades it had become one of the most secular provinces in Canada, pioneering gay rights and access to abortion. Why? Quebec became much more urban. You did not live your life under the eye of the local priest. And Quebec became more proletarian. With that came a rise in unionization and union struggles. This, too, weakened the influence off the church.
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Also of interest
According to Dr. Gabor Maté, those who do hold extreme anti-vaccine ideologies, like people who have organized protests or aggressively taken to social media to spread conspiracy theories, often do so out of unresolved trauma from their childhoods.
The best-selling author, retired physician and Order of Canada recipient who has spent more than a decade working with people who have addictions in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside says that sense of belonging within a group of people who support conspiracy beliefs brings temporary pleasure and a sense of power to vulnerable people.
"We're looking at a lot of traumatized people who are finding a political outlet for their mistrust and anger," he said.
"It's nothing to do with the issue itself, it has to do with the issue acting as a flash point for their own unresolved traumatic imprints."