A few years ago, a priest working in a slum section of a European city was asked why he was doing it, and replied, 'So that the rumor of God may not completely disappear.
I'm sure Putnam is right that there's been a decline in certain kinds of organizations like bowling leagues. But people participate in communities in other ways.
Some people seem to gravitate from one fundamentalism to another, from some kind of secular fundamentalism into a religious fundamentalism or the other way around, which is not very helpful.
Some people think that as the Chinese economy becomes more and more capitalistic it will inevitably become more democratic.
The basic fault lines today are not between people with different beliefs but between people who hold these beliefs with an element of uncertainty and people who hold these beliefs with a pretense of certitude.
In a market economy, however, the individual has some possibility of escaping from the power of the state.
Our institute's agenda is relatively simple. We study the relationship between social-economic change and culture. By culture we mean beliefs, values and lifestyles. We cover a broad range of issues, and we work very internationally.
But we don't have an example of a democratic society existing in a socialist economy - which is the only real alternative to capitalism in the modern world.
Even if one is interested only in one's own society, which is one's prerogative, one can understand that society much better by comparing it with others.
Even in a society as tightly controlled as Singapore's, the market creates certain forces which perhaps in the long run may lead to democracy.
It has been true in Western societies and it seems to be true elsewhere that you do not find democratic systems apart from capitalism, or apart from a market economy, if you prefer that term.
The negative side to globalization is that it wipes out entire economic systems and in doing so wipes out the accompanying culture.
I think what I and most other sociologists of religion wrote in the 1960s about secularization was a mistake. Our underlying argument was that secularization and modernity go hand in hand. With more modernization comes more secularization.
There is a continuum of values between the churches and the general community. What distinguishes the handling of these values in the churches is mainly the heavier dosage of religious vocabulary involved.
We also have a cultural phenomenon: the emergence of a global culture, or of cultural globalization.