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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. Cletus

    Worse than a G D televangelist

    January 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Cletus

    I predict ANSWER will continue to be an obnoxious F ck in 2012

    January 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Answer

      Damn straight.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    It appears that the atheists will be very busy this year:
    http://www.atheists.org

    January 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  4. Joel from LA

    If I was an atheist I would rather live with animals than with humans with faith.... yuck I can't imagine not believe in wonderful God

    January 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Atheist

      I disagree with the faith not the faithful.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Joel, you ARE an animal–and so am I, and everyone else posting on this forum. 🙂

      January 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  5. nate jones

    Dont forget about the William Branham followers who sound like they might do a mass suicide in 2012...They are a cult....jim jones kinda cult

    January 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • debbie howard

      I heard that about them too- i say good riddens since most are childmolesters

      January 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  6. Anna/Minnesota

    Atheists are only 1.6% of the U.S. population vs. 80% Christians (over 90% believe in God). The tiny minority should NOT get much attention and should be ignored... they have no real life and no faith, and their goal is to get rid of religions that has been around for thousands and thousands of years. SHAME ON NON-BELIEVERS!!!!!!

    January 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Answer

      For real.. we should feel ashamed at providing an honest education where kids can really apply their minds.

      For shame on us atheists! Just roll over and die you religious t-w-a-t-s. You are the dinosaurs.. extinction will come.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Atheist

      I think you should recheck the allegiance of your people. They are defecting in droves.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Statman

      Actually the number of atheists is closer to 20 percent. Why do you lie?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Anna, ALL citizens of the US are "real" Americans–not just the ones you like or approve of.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Atheist mom

      statman: 16% of the U.S. are NO Religious afflicated, of those are 1.6% atheists. This 16% also includes some people that believe in God, but are not members of any religious services. So it's true, 1.6% are atheists.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Prometheus

      Anna, you are obviously a product of failed evolution. Shame on you! But, I am guessing that you were born stupid and just cannot help yourself. Atheists don't waste their life worshipping, paying homage, and praying to non-existent gods; instead, they accept life an live in the here and now. They don't live in a land of make believe and fairy tales. And, sheer numbers do not make an irrational argument or idea valid. It drives you crazy that not all of us participate in your delusions, doesn't it?

      January 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  7. me

    Here is my faith-based predictions:

    1) I have faith that in 2012, more people than ever will kill and be killed in the name of God.

    2) I have faith that in 2012, non believers will kill and be killed in the name of nothing at all.

    I have faith that the highest achievement of humans is the continuing perfection of killing other humans. This is all humans can accomplish with their huge brains, the best humans can ever hope to achieve. This is where I have put my faith since I was a kid, and humans have never let me down; not even one time.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  8. Atheist

    There are hundreds of millions of closeted non-believers of all faiths around the globe, who acquiesce to peer pressure of family and friends, and begrudgingly say they are believers in public due to old fears of ostracization. I predict these people will continue to be emboldened to finally stand up and say we've had enough of these lunatics in the drivers seat! We refuse to let them drive us over the cliff with them. It's time to grab the wheel.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • hesalive

      I'm a Christian and love Jesus regardless of what others think. You should check your facts before speaking on behalf of Christians. Life is so very short, you should repent and believe while you can.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Answer

      @hesalive

      Surely you jest. Do you really use religion to base your life on?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Atheist

      @hesalive I was speaking on behalf of closted non-believers like myself at one time, not people like you.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Kesey

      Atheist: "It's time to grab the wheel" or it's time to get off the bus.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • TheTruth

      One day people will know the truth. They will know how they have been decieved by the Devil. From Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them), each messenger told us to worship the One Unique God and practice good faith and actions. But today many of us humans are so disobedient. Hopefully when the Mahdi and Jesus (peace be upon them) come back there will be both peace and justice.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      No, Atheist. We're still right around 14% of world population.

      However, think of it this way: the truth or falsehood of a proposition is not based on how many people believe in it.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  9. Michael

    Much of life is about unlearning all the crap – that people, politicians, and popes have laid on you.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  10. President Bush was right....

    George H. W. Bush: I don't know if atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.… I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Atheist

      Our Founding Fathers wisely thought differently.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The fact that this was a quote from one of the worst and dumbest presidents we've ever elected should tell you something.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  11. Prometheus

    Where are the shaman, voodoo priests, witchdoctors and astrologers? At least there is some pretext of evidence for their beliefes, whereas there are absolutely none for the Abrahamic religions. Religion gives breath to Einsteins's definition of insanity. Or as Camus suggested it is belief beyond the Absurd and philospohical suicide.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • hesalive

      Surely you jest. Do you really use astrology to base your life on?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  12. hesalive

    Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is lord. Do it now, before it's too late to escape judgment. He welcomes any sinner willing to ask for forgiveness.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Tyrannical, overlord complex much?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • godless heathen me

      Jesus is DEAD and there is NO GOD.
      Your hate is duly noted, however.
      Jesus would hate you back.
      That's how stupid and hateful you are.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Smukers

      I am on my own and have no comprehension of supernatural things. Obviously, you do, so, Good Luck.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  13. Enlighten

    The only religion I will follow is the " Do into others, as you would have them do into you"religion.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Frank Zappa

      I have been in you, baby
      And you
      Have been in me
      And we
      Have be
      So intimately
      Entwined
      And it sure was fine

      January 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • hesalive

      You're corrupt and unable to save yourself from the righteous wrath of God you deserve. Only the blood of Christ saves you.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Let the delusion bleed for real.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  14. Agnostic Mom

    If America is suppose to have "seperation of church and state" and "secular" nation, how come Christmas Day is a federal holiday, Good Friday in 11 states, Easter is flag day and most things are closed, In God We Trust is motto etc.?!

    January 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What does that have to do with anything?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  15. JESUS IS THE BEST

    USA has the world's largest Christian population.... PROUD! 😀

    January 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Jen

      Just google "ad populism fallacy".

      January 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Answer

      A useless population is so proud to be of? Well that's good to hear.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      Yeah, Jeebus likes to be on top. Your testosterone laced paradigm is for 9th graders.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Enlighten

      Sheep.

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

      Troll or crazy?

      January 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • godless heathen me

      according to who? We certainly have one of the biggest collections of religious idiots here. Is that what you meant?
      How can you be proud of people who act like prima-donna nazis over every little thing? Good grief.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Statman

      USA has millions of dumb-f-cks, yes.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  16. baatman74

    Who are the 'experts' on religion? lol. Does memorizing john 3:16 make you an expert? Does BELIEVING john 3:16 has an ounce ot truth in it make you an expert? What is lthe religious experts claim to fame, that he believes the bible? Hello, I'M AN EXPERT! lol Every person on earth is an experr then!!
    Only one thing worries me about all this religious stuff. It always leans toward making everyone religious, even if it has to be by force. christians are easily provoked if you don't hold their views, I can see the day when they try to put a mark on an Atheist so as to identify them! None beolievers will be treated like perverts, made to register their address.

    January 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • yeap that's right

      notta phucking chance......! If anything the other way around.....

      January 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      The term "expert" is used a bit loosely me thinks. But then again there are experts on ancient greek Gods .. but that doesn't make the Gods real. It's when we except these "experts'" opinions as knowledge of the "truth" about something that cannot be proven.

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

      baatman74, LOL ... we don't need to physically mark you. When an atheist opens his/her mouth, your arrogance gives you away.

      Amen.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Answer

      The arrogance of being right is natural. Religion and creationists are just idiots.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  17. eyeson

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

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

      Like I said.

      Delusions.

      May your god go with you. It is after all your god.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • eyeson

      Believe in love. It's the greatest thing in the universe! You are loved!

      January 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Answer

      Sure. I have love, not your fake crap love.

      Get to church you imbecile.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      And the fact that he just happened to mention that shows how all self righteous and superior he feels. Typical.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So, Answer, you never told us what you got for Christmas.

      Amen.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • eyeson

      Love is stronger than hatred.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Answer

      @HeavenSent

      Let me see.. a dinner with the family – spent over 1k on a feast. Gifts cards from christian friends – by mail. Relaxed like I wanted and listened to music when I wasn't busy. You want to tell me how I didn't have a good time? 🙂

      January 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Answer

      @eyeson

      Apparently it isn't true – your kind and it's hate override all the love in the world.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • eyeson

      God is love. There is nothing more important living in love.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Answer

      Right.

      Living a life in lies is just right up your ally eyeson. Keep at it. You may make a believer out of yourself one day.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  18. CND

    God can't be used.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • godless heathen me

      ...because he doesn't exist.
      There, finished it for you.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  19. yeap that's right

    I wanted to upchuck reading some of the more ridiculous predictions.
    Was kinda creepy.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  20. Dot

    I hope that we can be pro Israel and pro Palestinian. US Christians must start living their faith and work for peace among people. There is too much taking of sides and causing trouble.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      How 'bout we just eliminate the "sides"?! That should take care of the trouble it causes.

      January 1, 2012 at 6:59 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.