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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. Johanna

    It´s so embarrasing even having atheists & non-believers living in this country.... this is One Nation Under God !

    January 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • ashrakay

      No doubt the feeling is mutual. The only difference is, the rest of the world is not embarrassed by the non believers.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      No it isn't.

      It is one nation in which the majority of the populace mistakenly believes, due to indoctrination or ignorance, in the existence of a supreme being when there is no evidence for one whatsoever.

      Do you believe in a giant lizard-king? Of course not. Because you've never seen one. What if there was a book about a giant lizard king, and some people read that book -religiously- and tried to convince others of his existence? You'd call them crazy. Well walk on over to the mirror. Say hello to the crazy.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      One nation, but obviously way too many gods. Which one are you backing? Zeus? Jesus? Yahweh? Allah? Couldn't we just ask all these supreme beings to take it out back and settle the matter, then let us know which one won?

      January 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      Hey Solitairedog I'd sell tickets to that! Except, of course, none of the combatants would actually show up since existence is a prerequisite to fighting.

      Maybe some local cult leaders would show up to duke it out?

      The winner could technically say they bested allah. That would really rile up the Muzzies.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      And the winner is::::: A giant LIZARD QUEEN. Yea unto her and her burning.... nevermind.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's so embarrassing to have idiots who don't know history living in this country. This isn't a "nation under God" and wasn't founded as one.

      Moron. Go back to class and try to remain conscious this time.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      LOL....you know you're startin some c hit! I hear ya, though!

      January 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  2. Heroicslug

    This just in: The bible is stupid! Aside from a few questionable morality tales, it's all rubbish!

    Also, you shouldn't believe in things you can't see/hear/smell/taste/touch simply because your parents do!
    Don't rationalise that your sky spirit moves in mysterious ways. Recognise that it isn't real.

    Start the new year by letting go of this stone age garbage.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Don

      Thanks for showing someone has a brain, this just in, just because your parents were stupid doesn't mean you HAVE to be, unless of course you were just born stupid, then, oh well, you just can't fix stupid so I guess you are cursed to be a believing idiot. The bible is a bigger load of trash than anything else that has ever been written, it is what is shown in the dictionary under the entry for trash!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Chrism

      "Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come [to] scoff, living according to their own desires" 2 Peter 3:3

      January 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      I scoff. I scoff a lot! I scoff and scoff and scoff. Someday I'll die, so will you. But maybe I will have really lived whereas you have totally and completely surrendered your mind to people you don't even know. I scoff. I scoff proudly and loudly.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      [cough cough]

      Er, wait.. That can't be right.. You said "scoff".
      Pretty sure that's been going on since some spare-chromosome'd idiot thought up your god(s).

      So what you're saying is... it's always the end times? This. Means. Party. Forever.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Dismissing the Bible as "stupid" is dismissive, to be sure, but it's not very smart on your part.

      The Bible is complex, and while I certainly do not accept it as the "Word of God" or anything of the like, it is without a doubt the most influential collection of literature in Western culture. Yes, it has a lot that people here (myself included) will vehemently disagree with, and yes, the folks who read it literally sometimes get on my nerve in the present, but if we are to acknowledge it at all (and are going to be honest), we must acknowledge both the positive and negative effects.

      Has the Bible been used to excuse atrocities? Yes, and it's also been used to justify mercy, not solely on an individual scale. Has the Bible been used to excuse slavery? Yes, but also as one of the moral foundations for the abolitionist movement.

      The folks who claim that religion in general, or Christianity in particular, has done more harm than good are doing nothing more than repeating slogans: the actual balance of benefit to deficit caused by people who believe in the Bible is far more complex than can be comprehended in a lifetime, much less contained in a forum post.

      *shrug* But people will believe as they wish, and will post whatever they feel like, regardless of whether or not it is accurate, or even truthful.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      Junius Gallio, I recognise that it is influential. That doesn't mean it's anything great. The sun is what influenced most primitive religions, star wars influenced battlestar galactica (correct me if i'm wrong, geeks). So it had a big impact on literature and art. Your point? It's still a bunch of nonsense people need to get over and stop accepting as truth.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      @Heroicslug

      Is the Bible "great"? Well, de gustibus....

      Is the Bible "useless"? Not entirely, though I am not going to be basing my life on it. But it is useful for understanding our modern culture, other literature, and Western history. It is useful for illuminating certain periods of American history, and I certainly enjoy reading the Bible, discussing how events actually occurred (as opposed to how they were portrayed), and how the changing interpretation of its meaning has affected our culture and history.

      But for a large majority of those who do believe, the Bible is also a book of hope, and while hope cannot be measured on a scale (or monetized), it is a valuable resource for those who can benefit from it.

      Even if I consider religious faith to be a false hope, I refuse to attempt to take that hope away from others.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  3. Zeus

    No one believes in me any more!

    BUT

    I am the one and only god! All hail Zeus!

    January 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      ANother one? Who does this one hate? Canadians?

      January 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Zeus

      I don't really hate anyone, but I do enjoy giving little children deadly cancer.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Fear the Looming Canadian Menace!

      Did someone actually say .... CANADIANS!!!!

      Never utter the name of the wolf!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      (with trepidation) .... Canadians? Darth Vader? Voldemort! i think i hear the beating of wings and howling in the distance!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  4. Annette

    If people tend to think that 2012 will bring major changes to the world, then I suggest that evangelicals from the US go online and begin to read the following: Why the LDS Church is a Cult: Theological Differences Between Christian and LDS Doctrines by Rich Deem. I can see the hotels in the US reading the Book of Mormon instead of The Bible.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      Actually, they are all cults. Some are just more popular than others.

      The more you know!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  5. Marks from Middle River

    €>>>"popular celebrities George Takei and Ricky Gervais as atheists in 2011 are just the tip of the iceberg."

    Were not Kirk, Spock and maybe McCoy all Jewish. .... So was their coming out Hebrew a tipping point as well?

    January 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Zeus

      I think Bill Mahr has a jewish mother too.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • qed

      "Iceberg" does sound Jewish.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Dammit, Jim!

      Deforrest Kelley was the son of a Baptist minister.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  6. Phil

    Here you go...religious nuts. Here are just 10 contradictions (hundreds more) in your precious book of holes...I mean holy book.


    God is satisfied with his works. Gen 1:31
    God is dissatisfied with his works.  Gen 6:6
    
God dwells in chosen temples. 2 Chron 7:12,16

    God dwells not in temples. Acts 7:48
    
God dwells in light. Tim 6:16
    
God dwells in darkness. 1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
    
God is seen and heard. Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/Ex 24:9-11

    God is invisible and cannot be heard. John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16

    God is tired and rests. Ex 31:17
    
God is never tired and never rests. Is 40:28

    God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things. Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21

    God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all things. Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
    
God knows the hearts of men. Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3

    God tries men to find out what is in their heart. Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12

    God is all powerful. Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26

    God is not all powerful. Judg 1:19
God is unchangeable. James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
    
God is changeable. Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/Ex 33:1,3,17,14

    God is just and impartial. Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25

    God is unjust and partial. Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12

    January 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Grrr... How dare you bring logic and reality into this discussion!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Chrism

      What draws you here to this religion blog, Phil? Are you interested in Christianity? Or are you "too smart" for the billions of Christian "religious nuts?". Look at your first two, lol, that's no contradiction. God isn't allowed to be pleased with creation but displeased with a sin of a creature given free will? Really what did you hope to gain by quoting the bible? Lol did you think some rabbi perhaps who spent his whole life studying the old testament and knows it so so much better than you would see what you copied and pasted and say, holy smokes, Phil, I never thought of that, you're right?! Lol

      January 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Neo

      I'm so impressed with your ability to take partial sentences out of context. You must be so tired by the end of the day hauling that big brain around. Wow!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Don

      Man if we listed ALL of the contradictions in that book of fools and then all the untruths and lies there wouldn't be enough space on the whole internet. One thing for sure, if there really was a god he would have to love fools, all of his followers are nothing but fools and that goes for ANY god, not just the dumbest of all, the stupid christian mythological idiot.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Annette

      Phil, all those bible quotations were taken out of context. You shouldn't have wasted your time doing that. Why don't you get a life!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, belief in an invisible super hero doesn't require intelligence. It doesn't require courage. My 2 year old daughter can do the same thing. We indulge such behavior because she's a child. If I continued to indulge her after a certain age, it would be irresponsible as a parent. You wonder why we come on here? Because it would be irresponsible for us to do otherwise. You think we think we are smarter? It's a relative term, but to quote your favorite story book, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

      When you're ready to wake up from your fantasy land and look us in the face, then you will know as you are known. Have no doubt, I too have been on the other side of that darkly glass. Reality awaits you and it is crystal clear.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Chrism

      @ashrakay, who said anything about an invisible super hero? Its interesting too you conclude with something about murky beliefs. It sounds like yours were. Why would you presume to speak for others? I've experienced God directly. God has revealed Himself to me clearly and He has to many. Really not sure what your point is about your two year old. I'm blessed to have been my daughter's confirmation sponsor. Why not put aside the phony comparisons to comic books and get real. The universe is ordered and there is no reason at all to think it got that way from a random chaotic explosion of nothing. The gospels are historically accurate and compelling and the eye-witnesses to Jesus willingly died for what they testified they saw. There's nothing murky here. The words I would use for what you probably mean by murky are beyond our comprehension and incomplete understanding. Let's not be so prideful to think if we don't fully understand or even see something it can't exist. Think you know it all? No? Then why be so sure just because you can't directly see and fully comprehend something that it can't exist?

      January 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, Do share... how did you experience god directly?

      January 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Chrism

      @ashrakay, why do you ask? What would it matter to you and pardon my saying but your tone in "do share" sounds condescending and mocking already. I've shared with non-Christians including on the Internet like this, but not when they're not really asking but just already know "better" than whatever they're going to hear.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, because I'm curious. I wonder if it's the same thing as when people say god healed my mother's cancer, ignoring the medical staff that did all of the work. Your fear of sharing such a thing broadcasts the shaky ground you walk on. It's okay, we've all been there. It's hard and scary to let of the story. The fact remains that whatever experience you've had exists only in your imagination, as there is no physical evidence to support it. That's what you call faith. Faith in something that cannot be seen, conveniently (since god cannot be seen or heard as pointed out John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16). This invisible being that has the power over everything. (super powers) Just like every story of every god that's ever been told. The only thing that keeps it alive is your belief in it.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, Aside from all of that, how would you respond to your god asking you to k_ill your child? This is the god your worship. The god that sent his own child to d_ie? Where is your humanity?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Chrism

      @ashrakay, I don't feel to share with you much and pardon me for saying this but I don't believe you. You falsely impute fear and shaky ground. This already demonstrates your insincerity. I just got done telling you I have shared with other non-Christians on the Internet. I have no fear whatsoever of sharing my experiences. For me to say that and you to falsely read in I am withholding for other motive, it only shows, you're already all set to impute other motives and dismiss, even when it is wrong, even when it goes directly against what you were just told. Your question about God asking to kill a child further shows your motives. You ask because you already think you know e answer. But you don't. There was only one time in history God asked a man to kill their own son and it was Abraham, a man who God knew heard Him, and only part of a test God knew He would not allow to be completed. God would never ask anyone else and St. Paul already warned Christians clearly to discern. Which brings us back to discerning and reality testing. God simply chose me. I've been shown and I've experienced God.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, so you're going to act as if god didn't order the murder of women and children on more than one occasion, and sent bears to kill children for mocking a prophet by calling him "bald"... These are just some of the many fantastic "loving' things your god has done. There's plenty of people in asylums that say god chose them. We either accept your word as reality or we don't. We base our decision on verifiable evidence, of which you have none. I hope you can wake from your slumber and see the real world that you exist in... Though, I wish it more for your child/children, as brainwashing your child to believe in fairy tales is tantamount to intellectual child abuse.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Chrism

      @ashrakay, you seem particularly troubled by events of the old testament. You might do well to speak with a rabbi. Your complaint is God appears immoral. That is only to you. You don't know God's purposes. And for the creator and the one who can grant eternal life, He has different rights than us, and His judgment is greater than yours. If He condemned Sodom and Gamorrah He had a reason. If He defended a chosen people to defeat warring neighbors like the Phillistines who would have destroyed them, we should rather be grateful that He brought salvation to mankind through the Jews. And as far as private revelation you don't have to believe anyone's account, but you're phony to associate those who experience God with people in mental hospitals. There are billions of Christians, doc. And for the record, I can reality test very well. But you give yourself away further when you speak of verifiable. Fine, then why ask for experience? You wouldn't accept it. You want science, not eye-witness. Everyone in this world could see God with their own eyes and God would still not have been scientifically proven. You could see Him with your own eyes but you couldn't prove it to anyone.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Chrism, Don't worry. I also have problems with the New Testament. Jesus asked people to leave their families to follow him. Women are told to be silent. And as Hitchens says, the idea that someone can remove your responsibility from "sin" by dying for you is appalling to me. If someone harmed me in some way, I find them to be responsible. The idea that some stranger could come up and forgive that sin is ultimate in personal irresponsibility. You present many anecdotes, but still no evidence. You say I don't understand god, but I say that you don't understand Zeus. What makes your statement more valid than mine? Many people had "experiences" of Zeus. They wrote about it. Many people have experienced Allah, and have written about it. The stories go on and on. Yet, we are to believe your particular god over all other gods. That you cannot see the arrogance of this position is laughable. And I know for 100% certainty that you will only test god's realness to the level that the laws of physics permit. For example, you won't have the faith of a mustard seed and move a mountain, as the laws of physics would make this impossible. You will never pray back an amputated limb. If god regenerated 1 limb for us, then yes... even I would acknowledge his existence. I would still find him morally reprehensible, and would choose not to worship such a tyrant. Just know, that no matter how you try to wrap up god and present him, the bible will always be there to show what's beneath the candy coating.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Michael

      I looked up some of these supposed contradictions. They appear to be made-up. Many of the verses have nothing to do with what this author claims. Example: Phil says Gen 11:5 says "God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all things." Here is Gen 11:5: "But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building." Yeah, you made your point, Phil.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Christian

      I don't know who gave you this info, but I looked up these scriptures and they are way off. They don't match what you are saying.

      January 2, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • E. Gabriel

      I'll ADDRESS THE 1st TWO On YOU CHERRY-PICKED LIST....

      PHIL: You’re probably fairly intelligent – well, let's actually fill in the holes that YOU created in the Word: You do realize you do exactly – to the T – what SaTan did and does with the Word of God: the doubt question "did God really say..." (see the gospels – when Satan was tempting Christ in the wilderness – the wicked spirit that was tempting Christ is influencing you)… and then you throw out cherry picked one-liners to attempt to make His Word appear conflicting or incomplete or void – but the below will help educate you and all others that do, and think, the same to the TRUTH of the entire WORD – that is God's Word...
      [The Atheist Cannot Stand On The WORD In It's Completion, Because They REFUSED To Actually Read It In It's Entirety – Because They Actual Do Have That KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL And Rely On Evil To Cover Their Ears From Hearing The Complete Word Made Flesh In Christ. This is the rebellion in their Fallen state throwing off the Love of God.]

      God is satisfied with his works. Gen 1:31… (Actually: the WORD says: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.) – Nothing actually about "satisfaction" – He actually DECLARED: it was very good.

      God is dissatisfied with his works. Gen 6:6... (Once again because of Man's free will Fall into Sin – the whole earth fell into the curse of death – and because God Loves he morns and corrects the ways of man – according to HIS Righteous Judgement – of which was the flood...yet, He always leaves a remnant when you come to the "But..." in the verses that follow – see by picking out verses you miss the actually Grace & Mercy God shows the faithful... (Gen. 6:1-7 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. BUT Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.)

      If you like I can continue through your little list below – you just might eventually hear & see for the 1st time in the existence of that one lifetime God granted you to live – the actual Truth of your existence and the work He did to Save You. You might as well discover God now while you actually have no separation between you and Him – because if you still reject the work of the Holy Spirit through the TRUE Word Of God pointing to how your salvation is assured in Christ at the Cross and His Resurrection over our carnal and fallen man – you will find a miserable eternity with no further hope of being heard by the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – the One God – the Only God – the Creator – the Savior...

      God dwells in chosen temples. 2 Chron 7:12,16

      God dwells not in temples. Acts 7:48
      
God dwells in light. Tim 6:16
      
God dwells in darkness. 1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
      God is seen and heard. Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/Ex 24:9-11

      God is invisible and cannot be heard. John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16

      God is tired and rests. Ex 31:17
      
God is never tired and never rests. Is 40:28

      God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things. Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21

      God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all things. Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
      
God knows the hearts of men. Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3

      God tries men to find out what is in their heart. Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12

      God is all powerful. Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26

      God is not all powerful. Judg 1:19
God is unchangeable. James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
      
God is changeable. Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/Ex 33:1,3,17,14

      God is just and impartial. Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25

      God is unjust and partial. Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12

      January 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Michael

    I'm so sick of "God."

    January 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      I am also sick of sick people using the word god as a bludgeon to hurt other people.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Annette

      God will deal with you soon!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Chrism

      I'm sick of the all too frequently seen lie in comment sections by someone who chose to go to a particular article and comment on it, only to tell others how whatever topic they're posting on is a waste of time.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Let's kill god in 2012

      January 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • ......

      Reading posts by Chrism is a waste of time.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • ......

      Annette, google on "Pascal's Wager".

      And, when?

      January 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Don

      Before god can deal with anyone he first of all has to deal with the issue that he is NOT real, he is just a figment of the misguided imagination of idiots.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  8. Aryan

    I predict that in 2012 we will begin to cut welfare payments to mammy sow breeders.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  9. Aryan

    I predict that in 2012 we will finally admit that blacks are intellectually inferior and take positive steps to limit their breeding.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • shut up, herbie

      herbie... shut up.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      Wow. That was really off the charts, even for the belief blog. Do you know where Aryans came from? India.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Michael

      Aryan: clearly, you too must be Black as your intellect is seriosly diminished.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Aryan

      That's "seriously," Mikey.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Annette

      Your comment has been reported!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Aryan

      Oh, no! I've been "reported"!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Don't feed the trolls.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Aryan

      Don't feed the nigras–they'll only breed.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  10. Anne

    Let me get this straight: a discussion on Christmas etc. by a christian and a non-christian is deemed a WAR(caps for emphasis)? To me that's just a debate. When did this discussion turn into a "war" on christianity?

    January 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      In their frightened mentality, EVERYTHING becomes a war on Christianity. Can we say "paranoia"? or perhaps they don't REALLY believe their own fairy-tales enough to relax.. Better to beat on every drum that they (the majority) are soooo persecuted.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Someone

      Nah – Just something to provide ratings for another news outlet.......

      January 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      Well, it's true that "the other media outlet" likes to belabor the false issue, but there are real people who buy into it and resentfully grumble at every "happy holiday" they recieve. There's that blessed "spirit" they're so proud of.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Don

      When people with brains realized christianity is just code for insanity in groups of idiots.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  11. jrw for now

    I have lived long enough to know that the more intelligent and educated and experienced one is, the less one is sure of. I have been agnostic, atheistic, and now have come back to believing. This happened over time and with careful thought and analysis. Man thinks himself too wise. A dog doesn't understand how a computer works and man doesn't have enough intellect to be sure of the existence or lack of existence of God. Certain things have happened in my life and the lives of others I know that cannot be easily explained. They were not random. This leaves me believing that God just may have directed it. I can't prove it but it is the only explanation that fits. Keep searching and keep your minds open. We CANNOT know.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • ........

      Google on "argument from ignorance fallacy". Lots to learn for ya buddy.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Chrism

      You're on the path, brother. Since God gave me a direct invitation 14 years ago, I experience Him every day. I hear and sense Him, am guided, and have seen things I would never have believed. Yet those of us open to it and being guided simply continue in amazement. The mere fact that someone ignorant of people's experiencing of God would attack you (for ignorance no less how ironic) let it show you that you are on the right path.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • ddblah

      "man doesn't have enough intellect to be sure of the existence or lack of existence of God". That's why you believe in God?

      That's very reassuring.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • ddblah

      And, you call yourself an intellect or educated? No wonder people say education is failing in US.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • jrw for now

      I'm female. Never had heard of the "argument for ignorance fallacy." Thanks for the enlightenment. It seems to me that the people who are so combative on here are those who really aren't sure. I'm content with my beliefs and experiences and am not trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking. Maturity has its rewards.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Don

      Well jrw just because you have chosen to walk back into the age of stupidity because, well you are mentally challeneged doesn't mean people with a brain need to pay attention to you. After all you really can't fix stupid, sorry about that jrw, you are just going to remain stupid for the rest ofo your life.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Reductive logic. Why not fairies are bunnies that shoot rainbows out of their as-ses? Just because you don't understand something, doesn't make the answer, god. Ask all of the people that didn't understand viruses or stars that claimed that used that same argument. I was going to say come back to the intellectual side, but if you're seriously swayed that easily, you won't be missed.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  12. Solitairedog

    Everybody's got their own agenda buried into their predictions. I ski so I predict snow.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • ........

      Yep. I think the experts call it confirmation bias. Problem is, religion can't get significant predictions consistently right.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  13. E. Gabriel

    There will be a 99-Thesis – Martin Luther moment when Truth by & through Christ will be revealed through the failure of peoples faith they placed in humanisim and vainity in the society – the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) will become more and more prominent in the Christian world.

    "Decision Theology" will be seen as a complete misleading of confidence & security in self-righteousness: Rememebr Adam & Eve were able to make a decision even before the Fall – and they chose to be their own gods and reject God – So how in the scope of humanity can any one man or women choose Christ (choose the Good) when they're in the Fallen state of Sin (at emnity with God)? Think about it – No works (including the work of "I responded to an altar call and I chose Christ as my Savior") will eternally save anybody – but only simple, child-like faith that acknowledges that Christ did it all – as recorded human history witnessed it.

    Those of you who have written the above items sure have a lot of experience and expertise – but can you bring yourselves to actually believe? Do you actually believe that Christ's Body & Blood are present in & with the Bread & Wine – I guess it depends if you believe Christ is incarnate & can't tell a lie when he actually said: "This IS my Body..This IS my Blood" continue to "do this in remembrance of Me"
    -> Also, remember He is the One that chose His Disciples – they never chose Him – so why do the "decision theology" people think they can chose Him today? This is just a real eternal example of the Truth that occured for you & me many moons ago – many moons ago – Christ complete all the work necessary to santify and justify the believers before the Father!

    ->Did the thief on the cross chose Christ? No, with a contrite heart he simply confessed his sins and proclaimed Christ's Holiness and asked Him to remember him when He came into His Kingdom – and Christ responded by escorting him into eternity has a saved believer.
    ->Did the Centurion chose Christ after Peter preached to his family? No – the Spirit of God simply fell upon all that heard the True Word of Christ Crucified & Resurrected – and Peter later said – "What could I do?" God chose them (the Centurion's family and close friends) and so all (men, women – and yes the little childern) were Baptised in the name of the Father , the Son & the Holy Ghost...

    So – Here's to another trip around the sun with the hope that God's Son be glorified through child-like faith that He works in all of us – to His Glory and Our Salvation!

    January 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      I think you might need to refresh that tin foil hat.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  14. pho

    Organized religions, all male dominant and power hungry, are the scaffolding for most of the evil and ill-will on the globe. Wake up and see this humans!

    January 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Obama

      male dominant? women love it...hell 50:50 women and men support it...religion sucks...religion is the big retard stick...pay attention to those who love it...not the few that talk it....

      January 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Obama

      women are sheep...don't blame men for that...

      January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  15. Phil

    If you lived your entire life without knowing that god existed...you never heard of the bible (it didn't exist yet) and suddenly someone came to you, a non religious person, and said. There is this magical being in the sky who listens and watches to everything we say and do. If you don't believe in him, you'll burn in hell...which is this fiery place where satan lives...and he'll torture you for eternity...and eternity after that...

    You'd look at this person with the most puzzled look on your face before walking away, never thinking about what they said ever again.

    That's how the atheists view you. We don't force our views (or lack of views) on you until you come out and spew your crap.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Chrism

      People aren't just seeking some practical solutions to problems. People are hungry for the truth. Jesus Christ fulfills the longing of our hearts, our deepest desires. And of course, because God made us with that desire. Science explains how natural laws operate, but noses nothing as to why they should exist at all. The pictures from the Hubble telescope show us the universe is ordered. Yet we have no idea why matter and energy should exist at all. Let the real questions boggle your mind and remember what you knew as a child. Don't be dumbed down by scientists who act like they have any answers. We are observers. Physicists, biologists. They are only observing the wonders of this created universe. And what a joke to think a random chaotic explosion out of nothing would produce these wonders.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Don

      No chrism, jesus just satisfies the need for something for idiots to pin false hopes on because they are too stupid to understand that he is nothing but a lie or myth and they are also too stupid to think for themselves, nothing more.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  16. Infidel

    interesting,

    January 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  17. AvdBerg

    The following is what God has to say about all the foolish predictions by those that follow and serve the spirit of this world (John 8:34), who speak after the wisdom of men but not after the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:4,5) and whose faith is without foundation and after their own self-righteousness.

    1 Cor. 1:19,20. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    We encourage you to read all the foolish predictions by these blind guides and false preachers and then reflect on the fact that even Jesus Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9; 1 John 5:19). For a better understanding of the false prophets and false Christs the Word of God refers to in Matthew 24:24, we invite you to read the article ‘False Apostles and False Christs’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Human nature and friendship with the world is enmity with God (Romans 8:7; James 4:4).

    Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).

    Also, for a better understanding of the above and what it means to be a Christian, we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • ........

      Start the new year right: report all abuse on all AvdBerg blogspamming.

      Avdberg, take your spam-blog and shove it.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Solitairedog

      You don't really think people read anything this long and boring do you? Make some copies and pass it out on a street corner or something, leave us alone.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Phil

      Also from your clever book of fiction. Just read it.

      If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son ... Then shall his father and his mother ... bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.
      - Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (AV)

      If a man [meets] a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rap_s her ... He must marry the girl ... He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
      - Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NIV)

      Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
      - I Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV)

      January 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      And on page 63 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (HPPS, chapter 7: paragraph 13) it says:

      "Lumos," Harry whispered. The tip of his wand began to glow with a bight, white light, making the foreboding Hogwarts corridor more navigable.

      So, you know.. carry sticks and speak pseudo-Latin. It's in a book after all.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  18. BNB42

    Religion, it gives people hope in a world torn apart by religion.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Phil

      Religion. It's like history class, without the facts.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Chrism

      It takes courage to stand up for values. I recommend it. God bless you.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      Chrism .. it takes more courage to break the chains of generations of religious birth indoctrination. But it's worth the effort to be a good moral, ethical & caring human being without being threatened into it with hell & eternal damnation.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Heroicslug

      +1, BNB42.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Don

      Religion, it gives false hope to people too stupid to understand a myth or lie is not real.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  19. Pragmatist

    Number 10 is completely ignorant. That woman in the blue bra was not rising up against her oppressive religion at all. She was demonstrating against her oppressive government.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  20. dan

    Anita Bleujob How do you know Jesus never existed? And; did it ever occur to you that may be irrelevant.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • ........

      Has it ever occurred to you that you might be irreverent

      January 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Yes, Dan, Jesus existed. There is, however, a grave and dramatic difference between the Jesus of history and the "Jesus Christ" of doctrine. Go read some Bart Ehrman for more info.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Don

      Sorry there Junius but you are so sadly wrong, there is NO evidence whatsoever that jesus existed anywhere except in Mexico, but he wasn't a savior. However historical facts show us there were over 30 fools running around the desert in Israel saying they were the christ but then that always happened when the stupid jews got conquered because, well the jews were too stupid to protect themselves so they were always getting conquered. But a jesus, sorry no facts at all of any sort, Pontius Pilate who did exist but not during the time of the so called jesus even though Romans kept very complete records never sent any messages or any missives whatsoever about jesus or putting any clown known as jesus to death because the jews inisisted upon it. Historical fact shows us no proof or even a hint of anyone known as jesus so one would have to surmise he NEVER existed except in the heads of people who just stood out in the sun too long and needed something to believe in because everything else was crap. So, jesus, nothing but a lie and a myth, no jesus EVER existed.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Like I said to Dan, go read Bart Ehrman. Get the facts BEFORE you continue to make a fool of yourself.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:48 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.