Sunday, June 15, 2008

What The Poster Say...

If political analysts want to understand the Irish no to the Lisbon treaty, they only need to look as far as this picture collection of posters used by the Irish 'No' campaign.

Browsing through the pictures leaves me with an impression of Ireland as a fearful and and xenophobic country. The posters reveal that the 'No' side, which was a diverse and not unified group, ran a campaign of wild exaggeration and fear of the outside world, with posters that claim the Lisbon Treaty will impose foreign rule over Ireland, to images of Jesus, the mark of the beast, nuclear war, severed bodies, crying babies, and equating the EU and UN to a satanic beast.

While the whole picture of Ireland and the Irish electorate does not emerge from these posters, the 'No' posters, and subsequent no vote, does illustrate the real problem faced by the EU. The European electorates are on the whole generally pro-EU voting consistently for pro-EU parties in general elections, and simply assume the rights and freedoms established by the EU, e.g. rights to no barriers for trade in goods and services, and free movement of citizens and workers. However, when abstract concepts such as democratic reform and the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality (see Article 3b), is put to a popular vote, arguments based on nationalism and fear will always trump arguments in favour of European Integration.


At 16 June, 2008 12:18, Blogger Charles said...

Hey Torsten, I read about this the other day and my first reaction was very stereotypical Adventist. (Hard to break from 35 years of conservative SDA prophetic indoctrin er teaching). You know - 10 toes of clay and iron that don't cleave to each other....

How is your interpretation of this prophetic message of Neb's Image in Daniel in relation to European unity? Do you see any relation? How do European SDA's view Daniel and Revelation prophetic imagery, specifically in light of traditional SDA teaching in regards to the imagery in Daniel?



At 30 June, 2008 12:24, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Sorry for not responding earlier. Bec and I have only just got back from our vacation.

Do I believe that the 10 toes of Dan. 2, and 10 horns in Dan. 7 etc, represents Europe and therefore predicts that Europe will never be united? Well, Yes and No!

The wording in Daniel 2;43, which speaks of the kingdom of iron and clay: "...they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together" (English Standard Version), is, in my opinion, an accurate description of Europe today. The European nations have entered into a inter-state marriage, but do clearly not hold together.

However, the last kingdom in Dan. 2 does not just represent Europe. The whole imagery of Dan. 2 is the history of the world in which Gods people are found, from Babylon to Rome and beyond. Today Gods people are spread out all over the world. Also western civilization (which grew out of Rome), does not consist merely of Europe, but also the Americas. The last kingdom of Dan. 2 is therefore not just Europe but the whole world, which today is dominated by Western Civilisation. Its a world of alliances and 'marriages' but not there is no cleaving, no holding together, no unity.

As to European unity, I need not look to Daniel to see that Europe is not united and will not be so in my lifetime. The nation state is still the paradigm through which Europeans view the world and the European Union is no more than a loose confederation of states. I support European integration as I believe that it is positive to remove barriers to trade, movement and culture exchange. I also believe that a common foreign policy will be good for Europe and the world. I have, however, no illusions that the EU will ever be a United States of Europe, and there really is no serious political momentum to create such a federation.

Some Adventist in Europe believe the EU is of the devil and its interesting that some catholic voters in Ireland hold the same opinion (as evidenced the above posters). I don't think there is a consensus among European Adventist over European integration. Whether individual Adventist are pro- or anti-EU depends therefore more on the political persuation than prophecy.

At 30 June, 2008 13:39, Blogger Charles said...

Torsten - thanks for responding. I figured you were thoroughly enjoying yourself in Greece. In fact, those pictures from an earlier blog post were spectacular. WOW!!!! I am so jealous of you and Becky - I would love to go to Greece. Heck, it would be nice to visit just about anywhere in Europe. (I have a small tiny embarrassing admission - my international travels culminate in my visitation of Canada - yippeee). ROFL...

I just want to clear up my previous comments - my views regarding the EU and previous attempts of a "USofE" are very similar to yours. I was more or less curious as to your experience and the experience of other SDA's. I do find it curious and a bit humorous that SDA's and Catholics seem united! In some circles over here, that would be a "sign of the times"...

Growing up in the USA during the lates 70's and 80's and the Bible classes in school, we always were told the 10 toes represented the initial 10 peoples of Europe (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, etc.) I have never thought about the USA as an extension of that - since we were founded by the peoples of Europe - and we DEFINITELY seems not to cleave with Europe at times!!! lol But that really made me think. Very cool.

I guess the reason I have never thought of that is the typical American SDA prophetic interpretation that the prophecy of Revelation 11 (I think thats the one) - the beast rising out of the land instead of the waters - represents the USA who eventually speaks like a dragon. I would suppose the USA is fulfilling that prophecy, depending on one's political leanings!!!!

Anyhow, I would love to pick your brain sometime. Since my extended life experiences are limited to living vicariously through my wife's remembrances of international travels, I would love to learn what other's think, believe and feel.

God bless to you both. Sorry for the long - windedness...

At 30 June, 2008 14:54, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Hi Charles, you're not long winded at all.

My interpretation of western civilization as the heirs of Rome, is perhaps too expansive, but Europe is today too small and relative unimportant continent to encompass the final 'kingdom' in Dan. 2.

In any case I would much rather focus on the kingdoms that is to come, the one that will never end. Thats the kingdom that is important in our advent hope!

Living in Europe is a privilege in the sense that you don't need to travel far to experience new countries, languages and cultures. However, you've probably traveled as far and extensive as I have, but you stay in the same country because the continental size of the US. America is anyway much more diverse than most European think and I envy your opportunity to travel around America (including Canada).

Greece, by the way, was so hot! I'll post some pictures latter.


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