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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. tony

    Apple releases the igod tablet. It lets you pray to it and an angelic voice puts you on hold waiting for the first available saint.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  2. eyeson

    I love my church. It's members showed incredible love and sacrifice when I thought I had reached the end of my life. One of favorite friends is an atheist and we respect each others beliefs. Try meeting people of a different point of view. It's different from throwing cyber-rocks at each other on CNN.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Answer

      So here over in CNN blogs you want to spread the fabulous brain dead religion .. no wonder.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • eyeson

      Hi Answer. I wish you well. May God fill your heart with love and peace. I am off to church.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Answer

      May your god go with you. It is your god that you want. Delusions.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Kevin

      Cyber rocks are light and easy to hurl. It's fun. Few people act this way in person so there's really nothing to worry about.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • nik

      Eyeson, says the guy who was just preaching typical rhetoric about religion? Haha.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Atheist

      I respect that. But you admit that it was not God or religion that helped you, it was people. I think many turn to religion with good intentions. It is the goodness of those people that has been falsely attributed to the religion they worship.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • nik

      You don't need god to feel love and know peace. Morals and ethics do NOT come from religion.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Joneph

    I noticed some entries were lame, some weren't even trying, and some weren't honest and others were trying but were clueless. Adjust for the usual bias and you've got an article with only two or three entries worth printing at the most.
    As for the predictions, well....we will see, won't we?

    January 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  4. ashrakay

    Okay, I want to be a general in the Anti God Crusade!

    January 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Kevin

      Contemplative look and pocket protector at the ready!

      January 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      Can I be your lieutenant? I will fight with my forked tongue.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • eyeson

      Blood thirsty? Bet you will use lions instead of guns.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Answer

      If there are any lions left – sure.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • IceT

      ashrakay .. but if you succeed you will be hailed (by people who need to follow) as a God!

      January 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Lions! I totally didn't think of that, but what a great idea. You contribution will be remembered.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @IceT, being a god would certainly explain that "virgin" birth I'm supposedly responsible for.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Mark Hinson

    God, you're kidding. Earth is a grain of sand in a vast universe. There are trillions of planets. If you think a God made you, this planet, or the universe, you should think of what's here and now and not what is not a reality. Religion is not plitics and never should be confused as having anything to do with one another. Morals and values are not mutually exclusive to religion. Wake up. We're all incredibly important when we are living and matter not after we're dead beyond the mark we make in life. Religious people must need to explain what can not be understood by our finite wonderful little lives.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  6. Kevin

    "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)"

    I actually like the fact that the Higgs Boson has been dubbed the "God Particle" because it gives us yet another opportunity to point out the ignorance of theists like Laderman here.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • nik

      Haha Kevin. 😀 Exactly.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • ashrakay

      ding

      January 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • godless heathen me

      I noticed that too. The guy's a bigot who assumes anything labeled "God" will never be found because he's never seen a "god" thing and thinks it would destroy people's "faith" to have any kind of proof of his "god" – never realizing that it is because his "god" doesn't exist as being why there is no evidence whatsoever in the first place.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  7. Doomguy

    Scientists will finally discover the anti-god particle and end the science vs religion thing once and for all.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • tony

      All children are born atheists, so we could end the religion thing by merely not telling them stories.

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

      There have been people making baseless religious claims for thousands of years and the general "sheeple" populace believes them. I'm pretty sure that religion isn't going anywhere, unfortunately.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Zeta Reticulan

    2012 will see the return of our "Gods". It will be revealed that these "Gods" are aliens & not so mystical or supernatural as we believed. We just didn't know better. Life as we've known it will cease to exist & and the new age of reality based living will take hold without religious dogma. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."- Arthur C. Clarke

    January 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  9. Maribel Barquie

    "Spirituality" a free choice given by God, Who is ready to cast the first stone? We all know before hand, right from wrong and the "Odds" are in the hands of another person who also knows right from wrong therefore; do good to yourself and to others as much as possible.....it's good for your health and the planet!
    Maribel from Massachusetts

    January 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Answer

      The fools always want a god.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • nik

      You cannot have an all-knowing and all-powerful god and still have free will.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  10. timothy

    Many of the readers DON'T even wish for "a god" when it is clear the world needs one! Humans for whatever reason just can't seem to get along, regardless of religious affiliation or that absence of religious affiliation. Get ready everyone for DOOMSDAY for it is nigh!!!

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

      "Get ready everyone for DOOMSDAY for it is nigh!!!"

      There is your fear. You called for it. Now make it happen for yourself.
      You want it so bad that you'll kill to get this in the future. Hope you get it for yourself. Good luck.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • nik

      Yeah, too bad no god exists, eh? Really, what god is going to let children starve in Africa while helping Tim Teblows win a football game? Have you LISTENED to your narcissistic selves? What arrogance to believe that a god exists dispite there being no evidence and believe that in all of creation human beings are the center of that god's world! In order to make ourselves more than just animals, man has had to invent the soul and the spirit, again things with no basis in reality! Saying "I am religious" is advertising stupidity in that it can also be said "I will believe in absolutely anything because I believe something that has absolutely no evidence to support it and I condemn others to an eternity of torment for disagreeing with me."

      January 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • tony

      You can worship me if you like. I'll give you the address to send the weekly donations. Warm fuzzies broadcasts and writings, and no prayers answered are the usual conditions

      January 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  11. Watnen

    &%#@ Me!!!!! It's 2012, and some people still beleive in this crap?

    January 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  12. The Half Baked Lunatic

    'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded – and it has NO PLACE in American politics.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • well

      Take your meds, freak.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Mister Money

      I take it that you think 'Right-wing Patriotic Christianity' is something that inbred, self-educated, evangelical fundamentalist Texas zealot doofuses made up and isn't really something Jesus had in mind?

      January 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  13. eyeson

    "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other" This Anti God Crusade reaffirms my faith.

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

      Yep – this crusade is to your detriment. Accept it. You'll be pushed to the brink of insecurity and go insane with fear and you'll end your lifes.

      A great ending to all religions.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Yawn. The same statement could have been made about any time in the past hundreds of years. Show a prediction with a specific day-date, or don't show yourself.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Bob

      That was for eyeson.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • nik

      The Anti-God brigade reaffirms your belief in WHAT? Christianity is nothing more than a book of fairy tales.

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

      It's lives, not lifes.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  14. Bill

    All predictions are joke.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  15. Cletus

    Without God, EVERYTHING is permissible

    January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      Since God is not involved it is human ethics, morals & laws that dictate what it permissible.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • non sequitor post is non sequitor

      fail

      January 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • tony

      We got Bush and Cheney appently with god, and the dogs of war were released twice.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • TRH

      Is that your way of saying that non-believers have no "moral compass?"

      I truly feel sorry for you.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Kevin

      Moral behavior does not disappear with god. Actions still have consequences.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  16. Karen

    BORING.

    Two thirds of Catholics don't even go to church anymore. Religion died along with the 20th century.

    How about some jobs and food on the table in 2012 instead of abstract theorizing? Get real.

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

      Yeah – I blame Catholics, Republicans, George Bush, and the 1% for all your ills.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • shut up, herbie

      herbie, shut up.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • TRH

      "Yeah – I blame Catholics, Republicans, George Bush, and the 1% for all your ills."

      Sounds about right.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  17. Nathan

    We will see profoundly selfish acts, destructive, cruel, wanton, and they will hurt a great many people, animals, and the earth itself. We will also see profound acts of generosity and kindness and love, both in families and among friends, as well as toward larger communities and toward all people, animals, and life itself. We will see many people striving to live in the light of something greater than themselves. We will see them succeed and we will see them fail.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  18. 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 6:28 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Cut the espresso, just gimme a real cup of joe!

      January 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • godless heathen me

      Here's a cup of joe for ya

      c[_]

      January 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  19. Cletus

    I predict more enraged atheists for 2012

    January 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Kevin

      That's a good prediction actually, we're on the rise big time. Humanity is waking up at last.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jamie K

      As opposed to the outraged "Christians" screaming about the so-called war on God?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  20. tony

    The "Belief Blog" will be renamed the "Atheism Blog", as it recognizes the positive trend of the majority of postings.

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

      The wide internet is our atheist blog .. what do we need for a single site? Laughable.

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

      We aren't a "we". Sanity is a state individuals have independently

      January 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Answer

      "This Anti God Crusade"

      Just look at that remark.. there is the insanity.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:36 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.