Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, delivered the paper “Regulating Religion: Formal and Informal Mechanisms of State and Social Oversight in an Easy-entry Registration System — The U.S. Experience” at the Beijing Forum 2012, “The Harmony of Civilizations and Properity of All,” held 2-4 November 2012 in Beijing. Professor Scharffs was a participant in the second of the Forum’s 10 sub-groups, as a member of a panel of international experts discussing Faith and Society: Spiritual Reflections of Global Age.
From the Forum website, Panel II: The coming of globalization has made us profoundly realize that people from different nations, countries, and civilizations have different faiths. Human beings have different faiths because they have different worldviews, values, and philosophies. In order to understand the world structure in this new age, we must understand different believers; in order to respond to the new challenges of this age, we must confront different types of believers; in order to grasp the new opportunities of this age, we must go hand-in-hand with different types of believers. In one word, in the age of globalization, in order to make different nations, countries, and civilizations harmonize with each other and flourish together, we have to promote the communication, understanding, and dialogue between different faiths.
The specific topics of this panel session were as follows:
1. Diversified Faiths and Social Transformation
(a) Religion, politics, and society in Middle East and North Africa
(b) Islamic trends in an age of globalization
(c) Political and social ideas in different religious traditions.
2. Diversified Faiths and Social Governing
(a) Diversifies faiths and social behavior
(b) Diversified faiths and social legalization
(c) Diversified faiths and social benefit
3. Diversified Faiths and Cultural Making
(a) Contemporary study of religious conflict and interfaith dialogue
(b) Comparative study of Eastern and Western religious traditions
(c) Major religious traditions and cultural making