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15 faith-based predictions for 2012
January 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

15 faith-based predictions for 2012

To ring in the New Year, CNN's Belief Blog asked experts in religion, faith leaders, and a secular humanist about how the forces of faith and faithlessness will shape the world in 2012.

Here's what they told us:

1. The Republican Party will tap Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee, and America will finally have its "Mormon moment." As evangelicals try to figure out whether they can support a president who practices Mormonism, the rest of us will try to figure out whether Mormonism is a cult, a form of Christianity, or something in between. Meanwhile, visitors to Marriott hotels will finally crack open some of those nightstand copies of The Book of Mormon.
-Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion professor and regular CNN Belief Blog contributor

2. Despite all of the lessons that could have been learned from Y2K and Harold Camping, people will still rally around the idea that apocalyptic events are on the calendar for 2012. Some will turn to the end-date of the 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (closely associated with the Maya civilization) and a handful of folks believe cataclysmic events are awaiting on December 21, 2012. But the dates with will pass with little fanfare — except for those profiting from the sale of gold coins, generators, and dried food that you'd probably rather want to die than eat.
-Margaret Feinberg, author of "Hungry for God"

3. Continuing revolutions across the Arab world will raise alarming questions about the fate of the remaining Christians in the region, and will put the issue of religious persecution squarely on the political agenda. Sizable Christian populations now survive in only two Arab countries, Egypt and Syria, both of which could soon be under Islamist rule. At a minimum, expect to see inter-faith violence on the ground. In a worst case scenario, Arab Christians could face large scale persecution, forcing millions to seek new homes overseas. Watch too for religious persecution to be an emotive issue in the U.S. presidential race.
- Philip Jenkins, Penn State University professor and author of "Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses"

4. The year will see an increase in the number of people "coming out" as nonbelievers. Major events like the Reason Rally in March will be a catalyst for more people to publicly declare their secular worldview. The statements of popular celebrities George Takei and Ricky Gervais as atheists in 2011 are just the tip of the iceberg.
–Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association

5. "All-American Muslim" will become a bigger hit than "Jersey Shore" ever was. Obsessed fans worldwide, regardless of gender, will begin rocking sassy colorful hijab (veil) and converting en masse. Tim Tebow will choose to fast in solidarity with Muslim football players and Tebowing will be replaced by Teprostrating. President Obama will jump on the bandwagon and replace VP Joe Biden with Keith Ellison as his running mate, guaranteeing his re-election in a landslide victory in November. Peace will reign on earth and pigs will have a new lease on life.
-Maysoon Zayid, comedian, actress and co-producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival

6. There's no question the worldview of most younger Christians already differs from previous generations regarding social justice, cultural engagement and politics. The next issue of probable divergence? The conflict in Israel and Palestine. The American church has largely purported just one theology about the modern state of Israel, but now questions are being asked - especially by younger Christians learning of persecution and human rights issues happening in the region - if the church should have a more active role in peacemaking. Is there a way for the Church to be pro-Israel, pro-Palestine and pro-peace?
–Cameron Strang, publisher of RELEVANT magazine

7. Significant numbers of millennials (young people born in the 1980s and 1990s) will continue to walk away from socially conservative religious traditions. Bringing them back will be tough, especially for religious organizations deeply invested in brick-and-mortar and bureaucracy. Millennials who are facing the erosion of access to affordable, quality education and meaningful employment and who stand to inherit from their elders a great deal of debt and environmental destruction want to know why and how faith matters.
-Joanna Brooks, Mormon author and columnist for Religion Dispatches

8. The year 2012 promises to be a time of great spiritual stirring in our nation. People are seeking both practical and spiritual answers to their problems. As a result, churches and media ministries that answer specific needs will grow in unprecedented numbers. We can expect to see the numbers of mega-churches and super mega-churches continue to grow. Culturally there will be marked return to helping the poor (both domestically and internationally) and political and social engagement by a younger/more racially diverse, evangelical people.
–Harry R. Jackson Jr., senior pastor, Hope Christian Church and president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition

9. Sabbath becomes trendy! Fourth Commandment makes a comeback! Sabbath named Time’s person of the year! A new movement sweeps the country. They call themselves 24/6. Worn out by being tethered to the grid 24/7, sick of being accessible all hours of the day, inundated by updates, upgrades, and breaking news, Americans finally rebel, demanding, “We need a day off.” People all over the country go offline for 24 hours every week. The simple break from the frenetic pace results in lowered cholesterol rates, fewer speeding tickets, and a reduction in marital strife. Peace, tranquility and contentment spread like wildfire.
–Jamie Korngold, rabbi and author of "The God Upgrade"

10. Women in the Middle East and around the world will rally in protest about the woman who was beaten, stomped on and stripped down to her blue bra (under her abaya) during a demonstration in Egypt. Women everywhere who have been oppressed by their religions will rise up, as they have already done in Egypt, to join "The Blue Bra Revolution." We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.
–Sally Quinn, founder and editor-in-chief of Washington Post's “On Faith”

11.“Occu-pew Church" – a movement away from counterfeit "Church-ianity," cult of personality and religion toward authentic grassroots personal faith, based on living and loving like Jesus. More churches will lose the moat dragon mentality, lower the drawbridge and dispatch members beyond the church service to church SERVICE, applying their faith in the community through volunteerism and outreach. A renewed global emphasis on prayer - especially for peace and reconciliation - as individuals and leaders recognize that personal spiritual peace in one's heart provides the only lasting foundation for physical peace among families, friends, neighbors - even nations
–A. Larry Ross, Christian communications executive representing clients like Billy Graham and Rick Warren

12. Hindu Americans will continue to become better advocates for themselves, particularly in the public policy arena. They will play a larger role in defining the manner in which Hinduism is represented in the media, academia, popular culture, and interfaith dialogue. The acknowledgment of the Hindu roots of yoga will continue to spread with more people seeing the connection. And the Hindu ethos of religious pluralism will take on a more prominent role in nurturing not only tolerance, but respect for and between the world's religions.
–Sheetal Shah, senior director of the Hindu American Foundation

13. In 2012 the lines between the sacred and the profane will get even more blurry: Scientists will religiously maintain their search for the elusive God particle (they won't find it); evangelical sports superhero and Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow will continue to be both an inspiration to the faithful and an object of scorn to skeptics (he will be watching, not playing in, the Super Bowl); at least one well-known religious leader or leading religious politician will be brought down by a sex scandal (let's hope all our leaders have learned a lesson from former Rep. Anthony Weiner and stay away from sexting); and the "nones" - those who don't identify with one religion - will grow even more numerous and find religious meanings in unexpected places (what TV show will become this season's "Lost"?)
–Gary M. Laderman, chairman of Emory University’s religion department and  director of  Religion Dispatches

14. America’s evangelical community will have its hands full addressing both a presidential election and offering a biblical response to “end of days” Mayan prophecies surrounding 2012. With the economy emerging as the primary issue for the November election, America’s born-again community will have an opportunity to contextualize an alternative narrative to the polarizing elements from both the right and the left by reconciling the righteousness message of Billy Graham with the justice platform of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By offering compassionate, truth-filled solutions and focusing on the message of grace, love, reconciliation and healing, evangelicals will demonstrate that the greatest agenda stems neither from the donkey nor the elephant but rather from the lamb.
- Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

15. We are seeing the divide between younger generation evangelicals and older generation (baby boom and older) get wider every year both theologically and culturally (lifestyle). 2012 promises to widen the gap even more with Gen X and younger evangelicals having trouble understanding why the traditional lines make sense and/or just outright rejecting those lines.
–Mark Tauber, publisher at HarperOne

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Hinduism • Islam

soundoff (2,166 Responses)
  1. rick d785

    I predict there will be fewer nuts who beleive any of this crap.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Isaac

      Let's hope so. Belief divides, doubt unites.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  2. dan

    The problem with understanding and experiencing God is the religions of this world who are misguided and/or use God in a way they should not and mislead us.
    God and the religions of this world are two different things. God is and you do yourself harm by not knowing God exists.
    Seek and you shall find knock and it shall be opened unto you.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Bob

      How about actually presenting some evidence.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Zeta Reticulan

      How do YOU know YOU'RE right & everything else is wrong?
      Aliens are the root of all religions but I'd expect you don't choose to believe that .. but how would you know I'm not right?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Zeta, I know you're right. I dated at least one of them. She was really out there.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Bob, the evidence is everywhere. Now, you prove God doesn't exist. I triple dog dare you. 😉

      January 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Derp, one can't prove a negative. If one could, you could prove that Santa Claus doesn't exist. Go ahead and try, dumb as s.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  3. Isaac

    The reason why it's called faith is because it can't be called knowledge. Hopefully 2012 brings less faith and more knowledge.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  4. D

    IT TAKES JUST AS MUCH FAITH to say there is no God as it does to say there is one. So all you people attacking others for believing in the 'flying spaghetti monster in the sky' should take logic 101.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Answer

      The retort from the Apologetics. Completely wrong.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • tony

      You forgot to assess the evidence along with the faith.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • D

      Umm, no it's not.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Isaac

      Wrong... there is no faith required in knowledge and science. You either know it or you don't. That's the great thing about science and truth is it's true regardless if you believe it or not.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Answer

      @D

      Yes it is. It's okay if you are found out. We know already.

      "Say anything and do anything to say that science is bad. And religion is right. Use anything."

      January 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • D

      Science doesn't say or even suggest evidence that there's no God. Get a grip

      January 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Answer

      @D

      Science doesn't say or even suggest evidence that there's no God. Get a grip

      Where does science claim to support a case for god? Oh yah que in the plug for "true science" aka "Intelligent design".
      Apologetics at work.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't say or even suggest there is one, D. The difference is that there's no evidence there is one. There's plenty to suggest there isn't one.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Bob

      It takes more than faith to accept the Christian version of science per the bible. It takes willful ignorance of reality and of reason.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      We've been through this the other day. D forgot the not being able to prove a negative chapter when she took her fake logic class that she never took.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  5. Zeta Reticulan

    Their women are 10' tall, but the "men" like our women more. They impregnated human women in ancient times to create demigods & increase human evolution. This is the basis for ALL religions.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Bob

      I dated an Amazon once. Love to go there again.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Zeta Reticulan

      I'm with you on that one!

      January 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • A. Wolf

      I don't remember reading anything about alien-human hybrids in the Dao De Jing, but I suppose humans can convince themselves of anything, no matter how contrived. (Judging from many of the posts here alone.)

      January 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  6. A. Wolf

    In 2012, a small but surprisingly substantial number of people will list "Princess Celestia" or "Princess Luna" as their stated religion on official paperwork, and actually mean it.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Bob

      What are you trying to say? Luna rocks.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • A. Wolf

      I agree @Bob, but personally I have no choice but to worship at the church of Pink Pony.

      LUNAPIP FOR OTP 2012

      January 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  7. Abinadi

    Mitt Romney will win the presidential election, we will go into a bull economy in 2013, it will be an employee's market, housing will boom and we will all wish we had bought real estate when prices were low. People will wonder why they didn't elect Romney 4 years sooner.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • rick d785

      666 all the way baby.Be careful what you wish for........

      January 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Bob

      and Abinadi will be caught sucking Romney's golden tablets.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Isaac

      Can I have some of what you're smoking? Mannequin Romney won't even be the nominee let alone POTUS.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Mr Tugaloo

      "and Abinadi will be caught sucking Romney's golden tablets..."
      Romney's cult first claimed only their profit (excuse me... prophet) could lay eyes on the golden tablets... then, because cornholio told them to (but definitely NOT to cover their tracks) his cult melted the gold. No doubt the gold was used to feed the poor. Praise ollie. Hallie Lou Ya.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Check out lds dot org for the truth. You guys are a trip. Where does your anger come from? Oh yeah, it says in the scriptures that people will get angry when faced with the truth. Sadly, I think Romney may very well be voted out of the presidency . . . and then this country will be brought to its knees. But it will not be a surprise to a lot of us. Ever heard of the joke of the guy sitting on his roof-top praying for help . . . and three different people come to help him and he rejects it, saying he's waiting for God to save him? Then, when he drowns and meets his maker, God says, "I sent you help three times.". Well, this is the second time we get to accept or reject Romney.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Bob

      "Leeroy", you fail. Give day-dates in the predictions or they don't count.

      Anyone could make your same claim today with eight instances, not three, so you are actually already past 3 strikes and you're...outta there, batter.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  8. 5thApe

    Faith based predictions. Well, since faith is defined as 'belief without evidence' we can ignore all of these. Will will have to put up with the 2012 nutters all year I suppose.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Leeroy

      The idea is to "exercise faith" (try things out), until it becomes "knowledge". Once we have knowledge about something, faith is no longer required. Then, we can move on to the next topic of faith and try it out to see if it is true. Try it. You'll like it. 🙂

      January 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  9. mydog bill

    is not the rider on the white horse already riding?

    January 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Abinadi

      The white horse has already ridden. Are you referring to Revelations?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  10. HisNoodlyAppendage

    God is real. God is not. God is real. God is not. The violins play on...

    January 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Isaac

      LOL.... love the name 🙂

      January 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  11. Kuske

    My dog is better than your god

    January 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Zeta Reticulan

      Your dog don't know sit

      January 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Bob

      rolls over.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      *Applause* for all three of you! 🙂

      January 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  12. John Grabowski

    Now when these predictions fail to come true (or at least, no larger number "come true" than would happen through random guessing) can we write off faith as a crock and never do stupid columns like this ever again? No? Didn't think so.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  13. Leeroy

    As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I like the first one best and look at it as an opportunity to show the world we are, in fact, "Christians" . . . about as Christian as anyone can be. 🙂 As an Army Reservist who served two tours, it's clear to see that we missed a golden opportunity in the Middle East by trying to seperate Church and State and ignoring their primary religion and culture. By doing so, we insulted them on so many levels. We had an opportunity to embrase our similarities and build upon them. Instead, we focused on differences far too often. Anyway . . . interesting ideas in these entries. Happy New Year! 🙂

    January 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      Mormonism is just so much more ridiculous than Christianity and Islam, on which that con man Joseph Smith based it. How anyone in their right mind can believe such hogwash is mind boggling.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Dragon

      As a dumb AF MSgt for 23 years allow me to remind you that your church treated women as cattle and your church disavowed any ethnic groups for 200 years.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Heed the Prophecy!

      I predict Mary Magdalen will reappear on earth and open a giant cathouse in Carson City, Nevada, with free admission, dollar shots of moonshine, and complimentary AIDS vaccines at the door. All guests will also receive a free gun, a top quality toupee made from llama hair, and an deluxe espresso machine.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Mormons are only one step above scientologists (who somehow believe that a third-rate science writer making-up a science-fiction-based 'religion' seems perfectly plausible) on the gulliblilty scale... though to be fair, Californians are more like an alien life-form...

      January 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Like I said, people will more readily learn the truth for themselves in 2012, instead of listening to the twisted and hateful comments from people like you guys. Wow. What motivates the anger? Well, I know who does. Apparently you guys haven't figured that out yet. Anyway, Check out LDS dot org for the truth from the source . . . instead of the twisted view from so many who are unwilling to check out the truth for themselves.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  14. ashrakay

    #16 Fairies will band together to fight a war against allah, god and zeus.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Answer

      Leading them will be Mother Goose.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  15. grammar

    ".... and dried food that you'd probably rather want to die than eat."

    CNN, please stop hiring 6 year-old children as writers. "Die" is an intransitive verb. You do not "die food".

    l

    January 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Phil

    @ An inconvenient truth

    "All children are born fresh from the breath of God. As such they are gifts from heaven, from conception onward and more acquainted with the spiritual realm than the earthly."

    Yeah - but there is this thing called science........and it just proved you wrong. That's not how humans are made. That sounds like magic - and magic isn't real.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Even science is given by God to man.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Phil

      Wrong again. Science proves gods don't exist. It has for hundreds of years.

      The vikings believed that some wolf god ate the sun during a solar eclipse - their god was real and you couldn't tell them otherwise. But now we know that it's not a god that eats the sun - it's the moon eclipsing in front of the sun.

      There - science proved a god didn't exist. It's only a matter of time before yours gets blacklisted...unfortunately, it won't happen in my lifetime.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Answer

      To that end – which god?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Phil

      @ Answer

      All of them.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Stan

      AIT, then how come the bible (supposedly the word of god, according to some) gets so much of science wrong?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Answer

      @Phil

      The question was put forth to "An inconvenient truth".

      Of course science knocks the crap out of any and all gods.. just want to see that 'christian' do an advertisement for his god is all. I know they're pretty pathetic about self promoting their religion – so I was giving them a chance.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Isaac

      ha.. and now they're even claiming science is gods plan? They'll do anything to hang on to their blind faith in myths and fairy tales.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Answer

      @Isaac

      Anything is within their realm. Apologetics play book tactics.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @An inconvenient truth, I guess god decided not to put science in his holy and perfect book, the bible. He just happened to wait for man to develop it on his own right? So... god had antibiotics all of this time and decided we weren't worthy of them until the last hundred years? That seems particularly cruel to all of the children who died from easily curable diseases.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  17. tony

    The combination of mega-corporations' ability to secretly remotely turn on your cell phone's camera and microphone, plus issue soporific drug gases, on command, will mean that there will finally be a real god in the US. Just not the loving one we expected.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Bob

      tony, actually, even an evil corporate deity would be more loving and more fair than the Christian one: no threats of eternal torture for doubting that the product will do what is claimed for it.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Soporific gases? Is there an iPhone app for that, cuz that would go a long way tawards explaining the apple fan-boy culture. Have you seen the Samsung ad mocking fanboys? It's hilarious... "Dude, I'm so amped, I could stand in line for three weeks!... Nine hours down and we're almost in the door..."

      January 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      RE: "...an evil corporate deity would be more loving and more fair than the Christian one: no threats of eternal torture for doubting that the product will do what is claimed for it...."
      Well said sir, but lets also mention the great cosmic irony that we are also 'free to choose'... worship me unceasingly or burn for eternity...no pressure... your choice...

      January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  18. Veritaste (Camb MA)

    Faith Based Predictions for 2012

    Detroit will build a car that runs on water.

    A chocolate will be developed that has zero calories and no fat.

    Shrimps will learn to whistle and pigs to fly.

    All war in the middle east will cease

    January 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Phil

      Detroit... lol - like they'll ever make anything again. Just a bunch of unemployed blacks who will feed off the system forever. Everyone who mattered moved out of Detroit leaving it a crime infested wasteland.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  19. Katu

    These people are to delusional to be allowed to vote

    January 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • ashrakay

      agree

      January 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  20. Zeta Reticulan

    Dec. 23 2012 the date ancient aliens will return to earth to live among us once again.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Carmine Monoxide

      Who says they ever left?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • mydog bill

      I hope they have good looking women

      January 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.