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. MountainSoldier

    I predict that, as the years go by, the people calling themselves 'religious' will slowly dwindle in number until we no longer worship invisible ghosts and goblins and instead just... live.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  2. Observer

    Prediction: many hypocritical gay-bashing Chrristians will continue to CHOOSE to ignor the Golden Rule and CHOOSE to select passages to promote mindless hatred of their fellow human beings.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  3. Hunter

    I predict that most if not all of these predictions will be wrong or wholly exaggerated. Just look at the people who make the predictions. People involved in the situation tend to exaggerate the situations effect for everyone else.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  4. Eduardo Silva

    The Begining of God's profetic word about the birth pains of the earth, NOT THE END, but a lot of not very good things will happen...

    January 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  5. In All Fairness

    I am so curious why I am hearing about religous statues and icons are weeping? If it' a hoax – why can't at least one scientist prove it is just that. Is thisevidence? Isn't this worth some effort of investigation? I would be more interested in this than most of the news fillers? Please don't follow up with insults ... I really want to know!

    January 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Corbijn

      I personally think there are two kinds of scientists that would tackle this. There are those who are fundamentally religions and would be biased trying to only prove that it's real. It's easy to prove that condensation may come from a statue, that's actually somewhat natural. Proving that it was willfully manifested by an omnipotent and omniscience being isn't really a scientific thing to study .The rest of the scientific (and probably the most) community could probably care less and don't have the time or desire to disprove a hoax or something common sense can be applied to. It's like trying to find fossilized rabbits, pointless.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • In All Fairness

      Thank you but I don't think that the question is pointless. It is a valid question. Staues and icons are weeping from their eyes, The streams are heavy and constant & smell sweet. There is no explaination that anyone can find. This is either a hoax or a miracle. How can someone not be interested in figuring this out?
      If scientist won't try to explain it – that makes me lose my faith in scientist.

      January 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Another predication for 2011 is what are in these verses;

    An-Nasr sura 110:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    When, comes the Help of Allah, and Victory, (1) And thou dost see the People enter Allah's Religion in crowds, (2) Celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: for He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy). (3)

    January 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  7. Jeannot

    Prediction: Religion will keep screwing with people's minds, and politicians will keep using it for control.

    January 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Chris

    Maybe , eventually people will come to understand that spirituality is a personal experience. Maybe one day people will stop trying to push their ideas on to others and simply say, its what I believe and its right for me. Religion is not the problem, people are the problem. You are choose to believe whatever you desire, including nothing at all. Would someone be so insecure that they push their ideas upon you, and are you so insecure that you would try to change their ideas? After all , what does it really matter what some one else believes in, for they are not you.

    January 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • In All Fairness

      Thank you but thsi sounds llike belief in self not God. You might be putting your self and your desires ahead of God. If He is real and the New Testment gives us direction then iy's either ALL truth or ALL false – if one thing is wrong we must question it. But if yoou really believe than it is clear how you must respond. It doesn't invite wishywashy believers .. it's an all or nothing. Sorry if this is harsh but I don't think I should waste your time by pandering to you. I am sure you are too bright for that nonsense.

      January 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  9. Waynew

    ROMANS 10:13 "FOR WHOSOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." JESUS paid the price, HE did it all so that all we have to do is confess HIM as GOD, confess our sins, and ask HIM. Two men died with JESUS that day the one on HIS left saying if you are GOD save us from the cross, the other one on HIS right said how can you talk to this man that way, HE has done nothing wrong. He call HIM a man, as certainly HE was, GOD dwelling in a fleshly body. Then he said for what I have done I deserve to die. Then he looked at JESUS and called HIM JEHOVAH (GOD) and said will you remember me when you go to your Kingdom. JESUS said today you will be with me in my Kingdom. To me what is most important is what the man did not do. He did not get religious, come down from the cross and join a religion, become a Baptist, muslim, Jew, buddist, hindu, etc. He did not do a good deed, he did not get baptized, sprinkled, or have his forehead washed with "holy water". He did not ask a priest to forgive him, or those he had harmed for forgiveness. He simply asked GOD could he go with HIM. Then if that is the LORD'S plan for me then it worked for me. What breaks my heart is so many will not just simply believe and ask JESUS into their heart. I love all of you who posted here and would love to spend eternity in Heaven with you one day. Would you just simply do as the thief on the cross did. Just ask and believe. This is all the proof one needs of GOD'S existence, once one believes and ask HE literally places the HOLY SPIRIT in you right then and the proof is there. Please ask HIM today, time is too short to wait.

    January 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Corbijn

      Really? Say something no one has heard before. Say something original and from your own brain instead of reiterating something from a book.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Careful now

      Where in Romans 10:13 does it say we have to "confess our sins"? Admit it, Waynew, YOU added that provision.

      January 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  10. Alan

    I predict 2011 will be the year that His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster will return to rapture earth and bring his beloved followers home to live in his benevolent heavenly noodle bowl.

    January 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Your Average Atheist

      No. It hasn't sent it's meatball son to come live with us yet

      January 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  11. Waynew

    ROMANS 10:13 "FOR WHOSOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED". What breaks my heart is JESUS paid the ultimate price to have everlasting life and all we have to do is ask and believe, and so many will not just simply ask. There were 2 men who died with JESUS that day, one on HIS left asked "if you are GOD save us from the cross", the other on HIS right said "how can you talk to this man that way, HE has done nothing wrong, but for what I have done I deserve to die. Then he looked at the man called JESUS and called HIM JEHOVAH (GOD) and asked would you remember me when you return to your kingdom? JESUS said "today you will be with me in my kingdom." What is most important is what the man did not do. He did not come down from the cross and be religious, join a church, get baptized, become a mormon, baptist, Jew, muslim, buddist, etc. He did not do one good deed or ask anyone he had harmed to forgive him. He simply asked could he go to heaven by believing this man was GOD in a man's body called JESUS and confessing his sins. Now, if that is all we have to do to live forever with GOD in heaven then that's the plan for me and I certainly pray it is or will be for all who posted here. I love you in JESUS and want to spend eternity with you in Heaven. Please ask HIM into your heart today and HE will come in and be the proof you are seeking.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Careful now

      My version of scripture says that Christ told the one thief he would be with him that day in PARADISE. Recall that after a few days when Jesus was resurrected and appeared to Mary he told her specifically that at that time he had not yet ascended to his Father (His and our God) So where is Paradise in relation to wherever God is/was?

      Seems to me your idea that the thief was saved into Christ's kingdom based simply on his request to be "remembered" may not be the whole story.

      You also quote Romans to express your apparent belief that all you need to do to be saved is to call upon the name of the Lord. Paul makes salvation so simple doesn't he? Yet the very words of the resurrected Christ indicate it is not so simple. For one clear reference look at Mark 16:16 where Christ adds another condition to being saved: that of being baptized.

      Of course, then you have to know what Christ meant by being baptized, and we don't necessarily know if he was making a statement for the general operation of the Church (preaching, baptizing the believers) and whether there were any exceptions (must you baptize mentally ill persons who cannot express a belief or be held accountable for their actions in mortality).

      My basic point is that there are many who cling onto a few scriptures they feel seem to be cut and dried, black and white, etc., but such interpretations do not stand up when taken into context of scripture as a whole.

      January 4, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  12. Evolved DNA

    Are some comments blocked???

    January 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Evolved DNA
      " Are some comments blocked??? "

      Only if they have no redeeming value.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  13. Evolved DNA

    Are some comments not making it through...

    January 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Your Average Atheist


      Yes, make sure you don't see shit or fuck

      January 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  14. Evolved DNA

    GB..humanity looks to itself to help and grow.. religions, as referenced by your statements, tend to be death cults and look to the afterlife and that is counterproductive to civilization.. As an atheist Ii see god wars every day taking innocent lives and it is sickening. I have no issue at all with people believing what they want but when it starts to invade the rational world we are in trouble. If one of those gods you all believe in is real lets hope it can return soon and sort this whole mess out!

    January 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  15. Steve Paine

    Organized religion proves the devils is real.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  16. Your Average Atheist

    There simply can not be an intelligent creator,

    We exist in a universe that is basically a huge debris field 15 billion light years across, full of violence and destruction. We are hunkered down on a small and highly unstable rock wobbling through that debris field. The lifeforms that evolved in the thin biosphere surrounding this rock survive by eating other lifeforms. Evolution works off of high birth and death rates, with many defective products. There is no greater prescription for misery. This precarious existence cannot reasonably be called evidence of an intelligent, caring or even minimally competent creator.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Your Average Atheist

      Well, what a buzzkill. Here I thought I had at least half-a-crap of having a pretty good year. Now this....

      January 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Paxman

      That's a pretty sad outlook. I have personal experience of a loving God who cares about me (and you) immensely, enough to go to the cross for me (and you)

      January 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Paxman

      I have a loving large extended family, we have just had many fun filled family holiday gatherings with good food and good conversation. I'm not a mindless believer but have read and examined many different religions. I believe as most historians do that Jesus was a real historical person and so were many of his followers who went to the grave testifying to what they heard and saw. And their witness was not self-glorifying setting themselves up as leaders of a church so they could rake in money or have multiple wives, but just a self-sacrificing witness to the Truth.

      January 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Paxman

      And as I said, I have had personal experiences that show me the God is real. Even when terminal illness strikes in my family, it is not a depressing sad ending. Yes, our loved ones will be temporarily missed but we know we will see them again and their suffering is over. Sorry you have such a gloomy existence

      January 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Paxman

      (oh, and for me, so is dying 🙂 )

      January 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Paxman

      Sorry for all the separate replies, I initially tried it all in one post but it got caught in the moderator filter. But funny, posting each section exactly as the original wording, just broken up, then it let it through. Peace.

      January 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Paxman

      I graduated high school with honors, college with straight A's. Life is good!

      January 2, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Paxman

      One more got caught in the moderator black hole, so my last comment about (and so is dying) didn't make sense.

      January 2, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Paxman

      I guess you can't say "high", that seemed to be an offending word when coupled with 'honors'

      January 2, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Paxman

      Nope, it was that I said I' m a soft ware engine err. Will spaces let it through?

      January 2, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Paxman

      Guess spaces did it. Well I'm tired of trying to figure out the moderator filter. Good night.

      January 2, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Your Average Atheist

      @Paxman, that is a great outlook you have on life. Best Wishes.

      January 2, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Zephyr, AKA That First Guy

      ur completely right, but geez man you dont need to be so depressing about it

      January 2, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  17. Robert

    Yeah tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death ( Man's inventions of War in this age of 2011 ) I shall fear no Evil , for the Lord is my Shepherd , he leads me to the clear clean waters , by the green pastures and orchards that sustain me , his rod and his staff protect me from the Evil One , surely Loving kindness of Spirit shall follow in my footsteps all the days of my Life , and I shall dwell in the House of our Lord , that is in Heaven , forever..

    January 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  18. Bana

    The difference is the fact that Muslims can justify the murder of non muslims "Kafir" using the Koran but christians can Never Justify violence and murder using the new testament

    January 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  19. Angry Pig

    Pigs will continue to be oppressed and the victims of violence on IPhone's around the world!!!!
    Pigs will unite and prevail!!!!

    January 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  20. religious sects

    I predict the world will have peace only after we realize we are all in this together and there is no super being(s) telling each religious variation "they" are correct, dividing the planet.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:20 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.