Heaven, Hell, and Everything in between

I think what set me off was an article that I read recently on the alarming increase in diseases thought to have disappeared from the more economically well-off and medically advanced parts of the world attributed to the increase in just plain wrong-headed beliefs that vaccinations are unnecessary or even worse than getting infected (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/22/the-devastating-impact-of-vaccine-deniers-in-one-measles-chart/).
I’m not talking just about a few religious cults and fundamentalists who have bet their lives and the lives of those who depend on them that God and his representatives are the only doctors they should ever trust. I’m also talking about the uninformed or misinformed people around us who believe the rumors and opinions other misinformed or uninformed people tell them because they fit their world views and, besides, needles are rather unpleasant.
Everybody knows something. Nobody knows everything. Sometimes we can extend what we know slightly by applying logic. Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we just have to act even though we don’t know what we think we need to know in order to choose the correct course of action.
That’s when we are forced to believe, to take a leap of faith.
Everyone has the right to believe whatever he wants, in Heaven, Hell, and everything in between, but everyone is also responsible for what he believes, responsible to himself and to those who depend on him. Think of it this way: you disregard the evidence of your own hard-won senses and intelligence at your own peril.
Back to vaccines: I am not an expert on matters of health. I’m just like you, a consumer of health services, responsible for my own life, and trying to make the best decisions I can when I have to decide. Now it may be that you will be one of the few who react adversely to the vaccine or the vaccine is not effective against one of the mutant strains of virus in our biosphere or terrorists may have swapped vials of the vaccine for something lethal or … you get the idea.
But nine out of ten times vaccination is going to protect you and those around you from the viruses for which it was intended. I believe in statistics. Those are good odds. Einstein was wrong about that. God does roll the dice.

Mike Stone
Raanana Israel

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Filed under & Philosophy, Dilemmas, Essays

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