Upcoming Speaking Engagement, Journal of Law, Religion & State International Conference: Rule of Law – Religious Perspectives, Bar-Ilan University School of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel

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‘The encounter of religion with the rule of law may generate tension but also mutual inspiration. The rule of law implies law’s supremacy over other normative systems and personal commitments. It also implies that law applies to everyone equally. Religion represents a normative system that may in some areas be different from – and stand in opposition to – state law. Religion may deny the supremacy of state law and pose divine law as supreme instead. It may, alternatively, seek exemptions from state law in those matters where the two conflict.

TOPICS: In this conference we seek to study this tension and discuss the following questions:
– Does religion (in general or a specific religion) accept the rule of state law?
– What are the boundaries (if any) of such acceptance?
– In what cases would religion challenge state law and in what cases would it seek exemptions?
– Can a policy of multiculturalism and of legal pluralism, which give more room to religious freedom, be reconciled with the rule of law or does it undermine it?
– What other policies should states follow in response to these tensions?

Religion may not only compete with state law but also inspire it, which leads us to investigate religion’s various understandings of the rule of law. Here is just one example. The concept of law in the context of the rule of law is ambiguous and open to different interpretations. Some (positivists) understand law as a set of rules fixed by social institutions, and others (natural law advocates) understand law as if it includes fundamental principles of justice and morality. Religions may take a position in that debate and contribute not only to the abstract understanding of law, but also to the identification of those moral principles that are part of law. We therefore also plan to explore the following:
– What is the position of religion with regard to the concept of law and the rule of law?
– Many religions developed partial or comprehensive legal systems of their own. Did religions also develop a concept of rule of law? What is its scope and meaning?
– The concept of rule of law also may be used in theological context as a metaphor to understand the boundaries of divine actions and intervention in the world. Is God constrained by law – and by what kind of law: law of nature, morality?

These and similar questions will be discussed in an international conference that will be held at Bar-Ilan University School of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel, on November 20-22, 2016.’

Source: http://www.ssrn.com/update/lsn/lsnann/ann16021.html. More information will follow.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement, Conference ‘Christianity and the Future of our Societies’, Leuven, Belgium, 15-19 August 2016

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‘The event is jointly organized by the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven and the Association for Reformational Philosophy and tackles issues facing the future of our societies. The focus of the conference is to analyze philosophically and theologically what Christianity can contribute to the well-being and flourishing of societies, and people within societies, in the 21st century, in very diverse contexts around the world. The aim of the conference is to discuss with scholars from all over the world not only the significance of religion and Christianity in general, but also the contribution of Christian theology and Christian philosophical thinking in particular for contemporary societies in very different contexts around the globe.’

The paper I will be presenting during the conference is provisionally entitled: ‘Christianity and the Future of Religious Freedom’.

On the Association of Reformational Philosophy:

‘The Association of Reformational Philosophy (ARP) has its roots in the 16th century Reformation and its direct origin in the 19th neo-Calvinist revival (in which Abraham Kuyper was a pivotal figure). One of the goals of the ARP is “to contribute to the deepening of philosophical insight in created reality, and to make these insights fruitful for academic studies and for society”. Key founding fathers of the movement were the Dutch philosophers Herman Dooyeweerd and Dirk Vollenhoven. The movement has grown, and is today globally engaged in academic dialogue between Christianity and the contemporary world, and its animating intellectual, political and economic ideas and leaders. It does so in the expectation that Christianity has important and timely insights to offer.’

On the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit:

‘The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit (ETF) in Leuven, Belgium, has developed into an important European education and research center for Christian theology that seeks relevance to the contemporary world and its concerns. In ETF’s international master’s and doctoral program, students and professors from a wide variety of cultural and denominational backgrounds come from all over the world to engage in stimulating dialogue.’

For more information, and registration, see http://www.cfs2016.org/.

Participant, Conference on Religion and Power: New Directions in Social Ethics, Princeton University (March 12 & 13, 2015)

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‘Questions about power, justice, and the role of religion in social protest remain as vital as ever. This conference provides a timely occasion to address important practical and methodological issues in the field of social ethics. By bringing theorists and practitioners together, we hope to spark fresh conversations about the ways that the actions and relationships of ordinary citizens relate to various social structures, practices, and expressions of power.’

Speakers included:

Ernesto Cortés, Jr., the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) co-director and executive director of the West / Southwest IAF regional network; and

Luke Bretherton, Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School and author of Resurrecting Democracy. Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life (2014).

For the full conference schedule, see:

http://religion.princeton.edu/religionandpower/conference-schedule/.