I attended the 3rd Mount Carmel conference, an international forum on religion and society in Hong Kong during the mid-August. The theme of this annual meeting is “Traditional Values in the Secular Age: an inquiry from cross-disciplinary perspectives”, and which attracts nearly one hundred scholars from the disciplines of theology, philosophy, sciences and cultural studies. Co-sponsored by the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Alliance Bible Seminary, this conference has become one of the most significant academic events in the field. As an invited speaker, I presented a paper entitled “Beyond the Politics of Redemption: Tradition-based Visions of Responsibility in the Thought of Karl Barth and Mou Zongsan”, which discovers two distinct moral accounts of responsibility for democratic governance from a cross-cultural perspective.
The whole conference consists of two sections in a chronological order. The first section was an internal roundtable discussion among academic experts, focusing on the emerging issues and challenges in the research of religious traditions and secular values in contemporary society. In the forms of keynote speech and collective discussion, participants engaged in intensive dialogues among each other and undertake intellectual and ethical reflections on the issue. The second section took a form of public forum which was open to the public audience. In this section, scholars drew attention to the conflicting understandings and applications of religious traditions in concrete situations such as family, media, and social service. It was hoped that, through an in-depth conversation between the experts and the general public, new academic and practical agenda could emerge as possible solutions.
As a student of Christian ethics, my scholarly ministry is focused on the evangelization of mainstream intellectuals and college students. This conference, therefore, provides a good opportunity to prepare myself for an academic career in the future. Specifically, it helps me explore the dynamism between religion and society, and identify possible approaches of intellectual movements of evangelism. Moreover, this activity is also important for me to formulate a clearer vision of my own spiritual and practical life. By engaging in personal communications with exemplary scholars and intellectuals, I look forward to enriching my experiences and broaden my horizons, and thus preparing myself for a life-long witness in the scholarly ministry.