Religious war a la Estonia

Raul Rebane.
Raul Rebane. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

The Saturday speech meeting in Tallinn once again demonstrated that knowledge results in obligations, while faith brings freedom. The freedom to believe in whatever seems most fitting at the time, Raul Rebane finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Estonia has a lot of people wringing their hands, unable to understand how the others cannot understand. The conflict is greatest surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. This Saturday's speech meeting at the Freedom Square in Tallinn, organized by the Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition (SAPTK), only added fuel to the fire. Allow me to analyze the situation from an alternative angle.

A study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology this summer that looked at the differences of scientific and faith-based worldview in connection with the coronavirus. The authors found that science and faith are two different approaches to explaining the world. The faith-based approach does not stand for everyone believing in God or angels. The difference is in the level of critical thinking applied. A scientific approach requires facts and analysis, while going on faith usually results in rapid emotional decisions.

The study's conclusion that people who approach things scientifically were much more worried about COVID-19 developments than those who rely on faith has been confirmed in Estonia. The Saturday rally clearly showed people aren't too worried about Covid. Elderly people spent hours in buses and even longer in the square, with masks nowhere in sight. It was scary to watch.

It was demonstrated that knowledge results in obligations, while faith brings freedom. Freedom to believe in whatever is suitable at the moment. Tim Newman listed 29 coronavirus myths in the January issue of MedicalNewsToday. Many have been overturned by now, for example, that children cannot take ill or that the coronavirus is like the flu.

And yet, we can still hear people in Estonia suggesting the virus doesn't exist or that Ivermectin, melatonin, going running, MMS, garlic, a shot of vodka or whatever else helps treat it. We heard about some of these miracle cures on Saturday. According to Kurt Vonnegut, happening in the square was actively being convicted.

The next step from here is another device for making sense of the world called fanaticism. Radical defense of a phenomenon while often breaking social convention. Winston Churchill said that for him a fanatic is someone who can't change his viewpoint and won't change the subject.

I have seen people go from protester to fanatic on social media, and it is not a pretty sight. Personality changes are visible, anger and intolerance mount. Whereas they do not seem to care about the (coronavirus) suffering of other people, saving their own truth and face taking precedence.

Therefore, the coronavirus has brought out in us traits of which we had no understanding before. The most startling aspect is just how widespread this faith- and fanaticism-based attitude to the virus is in Estonia. This in a developed country sporting a very high literacy rate! It has come as a shock to many, myself included. This is where we differ the most from the Nordics.

A great national tragedy is not far now if things stay this way. Rather, it has already arrived as the medical system will largely crash in the coming weeks. As it needs to.

The difference in the number of vaccinated people with the Nordics is 20-25 percent, meaning that an extra 250,000 people are at high risk in tiny Estonia. Will it be any wonder when we will also have 2,000 more coronavirus deaths compared to last year by the end of this one. This should be enough to make people think, but it likely won't. A self-made crisis then.

It was suggested to me that I should go and visit the cemetery of a small town near Tallinn. I did and it had quite the effect on me. There was an entire row of fresh graves. Therefore, allow me to make a few suggestions of my own.

1. Participants of speech meetings. Attending such events, think about whether you are there fighting for freedom or whether you're simply attending a party's campaign event and have effectively become an advertising agent.

2. Political and cultural leaders. Your vote matters and misusing that votes costs lives. Promoting alternative nonsense in place of vaccines in all seriousness to thousands is criminal.

3. Media. Stop repeating the mantra that the endurance of the medical system is our main goal. It is not, the system is a means. The main goal is always fighting for the lives and well-being of citizens, irrespective of their age. Perhaps we can stop emphasizing that elderly people died of the coronavirus, as if it was normal. It also pays to discuss whether live feeds from party propaganda events are absolutely necessary.

4. Government. Take off the kid gloves and lead us through this crisis. Strong measures must not be feared as weak ones have already failed.

5. Those who refuse to get vaccinated. Think about whether your reason not to get the shot is based on science or faith. And please keep in mind that every online story that supports your convictions is not science. If it is based just on faith, think again. And if that doesn't work, don't be surprised.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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