11 faith-based predictions for 2011
January 1st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

11 faith-based predictions for 2011

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

To open 2011, CNN's Belief Blog asked 10 religious leaders and experts - plus one secular humanist - to make a faith-based prediction about the year ahead.

Have a faithy prediction of your own? Share it in comments.

Here's what those in the know are predicting:

1. With the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" there will be a more concerted effort by the gay, lesbian,  bisexual and transgendered community for gay marriage, uniting conservative evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Jews in a much more civil but principled resistance. Respectful debate will produce more precise and pluralistic solutions.
-Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, a Church Distributed, in Orlando, Florida

2. A new generation of Muslims will bust out of their culturally and politically isolated cocoons and passionately reclaim their voice and narratives; one that has been stolen, used, abused and hijacked by extremists, terrorists and fear-mongering propagandists. Watch out for a major cultural renaissance as a new generation of Muslim artists and storytellers grab the mic, enter the arena and speak their voice with a revived passion and purpose.
-Wajahat Ali, Muslim playwright and attorney

3. As anti-Christian violence accelerates in places like Iraq, Egypt and India, a government crackdown on Christian churches gathers steam in China, and European bureaucrats continue to drive Christianity from the public square, “Christianophobia” will become a buzzword.
-John Allen Jr., CNN's senior Vatican analyst

4. After years of increasingly contentious debates and billboard wars between religious believers and atheists, American secularists will begin to embrace a message of positive humanist community, gaining increasing acceptance as they organize cooperation between nontheists and theists toward the common good.
-Greg M. Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

5. As religious tensions grow over the coming presidential election and domestic cultural issues involving perceived legislation of morality, the media will find more zealous Christians reacting to the issues of the day whose extreme positions will further divide the evangelical church into radical positions, and turn away seekers looking for a peaceful resolution to the churning in their own souls. In other words, the devil will play a trick on the church, and the church will, like sheep, lose their focus on the grace and love of Christ and wander astray. Those who seek peace, then, will turn to liberal ideologies.
-Don Miller, Christian author whose books include "Blue Like Jazz"

6. I foresee multiple instances of dialogue and cooperation between Muslim and Jewish houses of worship, with the initiative coming from the moderate Muslim community. They will avoid talking about the Middle East and concentrate on living as religious minorities in the United States.
–Rabbi Harold Kushner, author whose books include "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"

7. Mormons have delivered the vote for Republicans year after year, but the GOP would be wise to remember that Mormons don't actually belong to them. We noticed and will not forget Mike Huckabee's viciously anti-Mormon mockery of Mitt Romney during the 2008 campaign. If Huckabee is the Republican nominee for president, look for substantial numbers of Mormons to defect or abstain. Mormons are the key to Republican victory in many Western swing states; if Huckabee actually wants their votes, he'd better start mending fences now.
-Orson Scott Card, Mormon author whose books include "Pathfinder"

8. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will loudly and proudly denounce the anti-Muslim rhetoric of Republican presidential hopefuls, ensuring that religious pluralism will be a central issue in the 2012 presidential race and nudging President Obama and other leading Democrats to stand tall for one of America’s most cherished ideals.
–Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core

9. Religious conservatives and Tea Party activists will increasingly work together to keep pressure on the Republican Party to remain true to its fiscal and culturally conservative principles in the new session of Congress and the 2012 presidential nomination.
–Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition

10. More Wiccan ministers and other pagan leaders will be actively involved in interfaith organizations, conferences and initiatives in the United States and internationally. Interfaith endeavors will grow in importance in addressing ongoing needs in the world today as well as in responding to natural disasters and other tragedies.
-Rev. Selena Fox, senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church near Barneveld, Wisconsin

11. Two-thousand-eleven will be, unfortunately, a continuation of great Islamophobic and uninformed attacks that will further alienate American Muslims and cause great distress in the rest of the Muslim world. However, I predict that the Park 51 will become less of an issue as more New Yorkers decide enough is enough and that they will not allow a few people with an Islamophobic agenda to dictate location of places of worship.
- Muna Abusulayman, secretary general of The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation

CNN's Jessica Ravitz, John Blake, Maria Ebrahimji and Kelly Marshall Smoot contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Judaism • Leaders

soundoff (803 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Hang on to Something Real and Natural , for all Things Man made are about to fail .
    Be , by the Waters , in the Green pastures , at Peace , in Faith, and the Rod and the Staff of our God will protect you from the Evil One , for the Shadow of the Valley , will not overshadow your True Knowing in Faith in God , that this is the Last Age of the deception of the Ways of the World .
    Do not be afraid , have great Joy , for this is the end of deception , and the beginning of Truth

    January 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  2. Andy

    A) Don't forget religion is man made and anything man made is not perfect.
    B) we still live in the bronze age when it comes to religions as they all love God but hate each other. Knowledge sets you free.
    C) Your own body is your own universe so love yourself and stop hatred , then your universe will look after you.
    D) planet earth gives you food,beautiful places to spend for spiritual grow.
    E) Man makes war for greed
    F) Man makes love for peace.
    G) We come all from the same planet Earth and it has all the incredients to make you healthy or sick. Its your choice.
    F) when you wake up in the morning and open your eyes say the following, while looking into the universe...thank you to be alive, bring me a beautiful day, protect my family and Friends and today bless all people and animals walking my life path.
    May the universe bless you all.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Brad Wallace


      January 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  3. religious sects

    My prediction is that every religion will continue to evolve along with the morals and ethics society dictates. If they don't they will cease to exist and be replaced by new forms of religion that fit societies needs/fears/weaknesses.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  4. colonelingus

    There is an old saying that there are no Atheists in a foxhole, but there was a hell of a lot of them that walked out of concentration camps.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  5. Kevin

    Why do so many people spend so much time and energy trying to convince "believers" that they are wrong/stupid/etc? Same thing with the "fire and brimstone" crowd trying to force their convictions down others' throats. You don't have to agree with people but you do need to respect the fact that everyone has the right to believe what they want.

    January 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • NL

      "You don't have to agree with people but you do need to respect the fact that everyone has the right to believe what they want."
      Yes, but respecting that everyone has the right to believe what they want does not mean that you have to respect the actual belief, especially if it causes harm, right?

      January 2, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  6. Robert

    We are now in the " Fast Forward Age " , an age of unstable , like the initial stages of a Nuclear reaction , and the destruction is irreversible .

    Yet the Ones of Faith in God , with the Foundation of the Ages stand firm upon upon this Rock and will prevail, Forever!

    January 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  7. Robert

    Live by your Heart , and by Faith in God .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • religious sects

      What if my heart tells me there is no God?

      January 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Robert

      If your Heart tells you there is no God , then the Ways and enticements of the World have come to reside there , you simply need to find a place of Light that will dispel the shadows in your Heart , and the warmth of Faith will abode. Perspective in Faith, and the comfort and strength in the Spirit is the Place of Light .

      January 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • religious sects

      or .. there simply is no God.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  8. Robert

    Mohamed , Buddha , Lao-tzu, Mahatma Gandihi also taught Peace , and the Justness of Love and devoted faith in God , for God is of infinite wisdom , and Power , forever .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  9. Robert

    That all who believe in God , shall inherit Eternal Life .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  10. Rags

    @ JesusisLord:
    "What happens when you die, friend?"

    If you die, you're dead. What else do you expect?

    January 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Robert

      Your sins are weighed and you sink or swim .

      January 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Robert

      God's undeserved kindness , and Christ's forgiveness and love are the reward of seeking the Fruits of the Spirit.
      Seek and ye shall find , ask and it shall be given unto you , persevere unto the end in Faith , and You shall dwell in Heaven forever.

      January 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Don

      There is no such thing as sin, Robert.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Robert

      " There is no sin " keep it , these words and this belief , it belongs to you .

      January 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  11. Thor.

    Did you snap a pic?

    January 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  12. Robert

    To teach the Way of Peace and Eternal Life .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  13. Robert

    Christ the Son of God came .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  14. Robert

    Prediction... the Powerful will deprive the poor of their Birth Right , the World will spin off into an Age of Wars and destruction , and God's anger will be poured out upon the Face of this Earth to rid this Planet of Life of Vile Things and Ways of Death .

    The blind will suffer in their ways of blindness .... greed selfishness and corruption of power. The Meek shall inherit the Earth , and live forever .

    Very soon .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  15. Thor.

    I predict people will review the evidence before them and agree that no faith has got it right. World will adopt wait and see policy. World peace soon after.

    January 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  16. IAmGodAlso

    I predict that whatever is predicted won't happen and whatever is unexpected will – but that's too much of a prediction.

    All these predictions sound more like personal agendas to me.

    Remember folks, all of this stuff is very personal and unique to each individual – you'll never be able to truly organize it, predict it, rule it, dictate it. The inner world of each human is unique to them, including their own personal enlightenment – and each evolves in their own way.

    I do applaude the athiests because I suspect they will have an easier time with their own enlightenment, than someone who has been indoctrinated into a particular faith and creed.

    Anyway in the end, just remember this: It doesn't matter.

    If you keep that in your heart we'll all get along just fine.

    Happy New Year to All!

    January 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  17. Robert

    Christ, the Son of God came to teach the way of Peace , knowing the Way of Man would lead to where we are today. We are blindly thinking that we are the creators , the rulers , and the possessors of power.
    Our societies reek of discrimination , hatred , deception , corruption ,and greed, and false Idols ( Man's inventions ) . Our young persons have no role models except the Materially Rich Celebrities
    The Poor are powerless to change the direction of Nations , the Wise are too few in numbers , and the Political and the Military rule by corruption , fear and domination, with death and destruction . By Wars and depriving the peoples of what sustains Life . Food, Water , Housing , and a Just Society that is at Peace .
    Mohamed , Buddha , Lao-tzu, Mahatma Gandhi were the wise Ones inspired by the Spirit of God , Christ is God's Son, and came that all humans would know that God is , and will forever Be .

    January 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  18. Muneef

    Well guess if all predicts let me have a go at it;
    I predict there will be more natural disasters, more floods,earth quacks,sonami, storms,cyclones...lands will become less when people grow more....
    Causes are injustice,corruption,environmental pollution and infidelity...

    January 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      The enemy is not religion the enemy is the uneven distribution of wealth caused major poverty among nations other than politics controlling investments flows among nations keeping and maintaining them to live in the dark ages...

      January 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  19. Jason B.

    Re #1: "Respectful debate will produce more precise and pluralistic solutions." Yeah, right. And when have any religious groups offered respectful debate lately? Too many zealots have taken over the "religious" voice recently. With them it's "my way or you're wrong".

    Re #5: So sadly true. There are a good many "religious" people that welcome others with open arms. They try not to judge others and wish to have open dialogs on issues. Unfortunately, while not outnumbered, they're drowned out by the shouts of those that call themselves "religious" and "righteous" but spew nothing but hate. All of which turns off a lot of people. How many so-called Christians are the ones vomiting the most hate about gays, immigrants, the unemployed, etc.?

    January 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  20. JesusAndBuddhaRock!

    I would like to know how many people actually take the time to read what the call propaganda. Research the bible and whatever else you want to bash and then come talk to me

    January 1, 2011 at 5:58 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.