My father used to call them sinners and sceptics. Cynics and sceptics can be exemplified by the sullen teenager at the back of the lecture room, arms crossed, feet up on the chair in front, supercilious facial expression and an attitude saying “Ok, try to impress me.”
Cynics regard those who believe in a particular cause or way of life as misguided or gullible. Let’s take Corona Virus. At present, we simply do not know for certain its origin, its antidote or how or whether it can ever be eradicated.
There is talk about vaccines, while conspiracy theories abound. Most of us wear masks and take precautions. Are those who do not observe these measures cynics or gullible? Probably they are both.
Then there are the millions of screaming Trump supporters. These fanatics would probably have voted for him, even if he were caught on film setting fire to the American flag in the Oval Office.
If Michael Jackson were still alive and had put himself forward as a nominee and become a Presidential candidate, many of them would probably have gone for him in the same frenzied way. To most of us, they seem to be gullible, although they are sceptical over the very existence of the pandemic.
Next, there is belief in God and the afterlife. No living person knows for sure what lies in store for us because this is a matter of faith. Some of us sense it deep down; others don’t. Many sceptics evade the question, often because they feel uneasy discussing religion. Others simply accept nothing without proof.
Meditation, exercise and nutrition are popular targets, too. Cynics regard yoga as a pointless waste of time, although its benefits for well-being are rapidly becoming obvious to the more aware.
Even today, many people dismiss the concept of keeping fit through physical exercise. Likewise veganism is widely scorned, despite increasing publicity over animal abuse and the beneficial effect on our health.
It’s the same with climate change, a far more dangerous challenge than any pandemic in the long run. It seems beyond argument that the slow destruction of our planet is caused by the way we are abusing and neglecting the environment.
It is up to humanity to implement the necessary solutions urgently, otherwise all other issues, including pandemics and the world economy, will soon become irrelevant. Cynics prefer to deny any problem and hope for the best.
In sport, especially in football, much corruption has come to light at the top. When we witness the adding-on of “Fergie time” and the awarding of dubious penalties and red cards, it is not surprising that we wonder whether results are fixed in favour of certain influential and wealthy clubs.
Of course, many adherents of positive actions and beliefs are fanatical to the extent that they regard others as unenlightened. This intolerance may exacerbate cynicism among the sceptics.