Still, we can justifiably say that human beings are naturally religious—as a matter of real, natural potentiality, capacity, and tendency—while at the same time acknowledging that very many human beings and even some cultures are not particularly religious at all. This view accounts for the seemingly contradictory evidence with which we began. Religiosity is widespread, yet not universal, and though not inevitable, impossible to extinguish.

What then does this tell us about matters in our own present age and likely into the future? That we are naturally religious does not mean that tomorrow will necessarily see a great revival, or that all secularists are secretly unhappy, “anonymous believers,” or somehow subhuman because they are living in some sense against the grain of their natures. But it strongly suggests that we should not expect human societies to become thoroughly secularized. Because we human beings are indeed religious by nature, secularization will be limited in effect, contingent in direction on various factors, and susceptible to long-term reversals.