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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. Jerry

    Years ago the Lord gave me a powerful revelation of what will happen in the years to come.
    And i saw the earth in flames and souls in the deep end of the abyss and as i was standing on a rock i heard
    the lamentations of the souls with a lot of suffering and the lord showed me his kingdom in which was with power and glory.

    Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other"

    January 2, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  2. BDC

    Religion is the worst invention ever made by man.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  3. Cris Craft

    Clearly whoever put these items together doesn't understand religion and especially Christianity. This is a very poor article; trash is the best label for it.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  4. warrior63

    I predict man will continue to be sinful. Man will continue to rebell against a Holy God. Man's hatred for each other will continue to fester and grow. Man will continue to make mistakes.

    Deep within everyone's hearts there will be a fear of 2012.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  5. untestableClaims

    "I will pray for you and all who do not believe."
    have you considered providing Evidence?

    January 2, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  6. sasikiranr

    anti-Christian violence in India in 2011, ha!ha!ha! You'r kidding Man. Please go through the records of violence against Christian in the recent years. Are you dreaming something? Please don't tarnish the brotherhood of Indians.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  7. Master_Kush

    11 predictions based on lack of reason... Nice...

    January 2, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  8. Reality

    Prediction #1 – Muslims will finally realize they have been conned and save themselves by simply reading the following:

    Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    January 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  9. JOY

    If God is not real. . . . . . .Why fight so hard against him? Why get so angry? Just call us stupid and move on! Not all churches are politcal, what about the small churches in the middle of BFE with 20 members? My God has never taught hate only love. How can you see hate? Pick up a Bible read it and then show me God's hate.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • sublime

      Joy,

      Providing love, compassion and caring is taught in the Bible, reinforced in the community but fractured by the ego. We need to plant the seed of love and let it grow. Christians need to be called away from their computers and tasked with providing help and support for the people that surround them. In my opinion, when the last hungry person pushes themselves away from a table and proclaims, "I'm Full", then I will care what others think about my faith.

      Thanks for the refreshing post!

      January 2, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Joy..why do you assume we are angry.. we are very concerned for the long term survival of humanity and the problem we see is that religions believe, with out any justification, that "gods law" is above that of society. While there is no question that some churches, as do other organizations, do great things for society.. as a group religions are very destructive. With so many gods on the loose out there in the human mind, how any any one expect peace.

      January 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  10. .

    Yep. 11-11 for those who see...are you there?
    A year of renewal, heightened awareness, and spiritual alignment is upon us. Many that have walked in denial, blind, and/or consumed by "self," will become awakened within the next 365. Religious conformity transcended, Death to Atheism.
    Mark these words.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  11. GregD

    I predict that nothing will change religiously over the next year. Christians will still tell us to believe in something that has no proof of existence. Judaism, Islamism, and all the other theistic religionisms will ditto that. The inherent "I am right and you are wrong" philosophy will continue to pervade all theism. Religions that "believe" something that they have made totally untouchable by defining "belief" (confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof) as the guiding principle of religious fervor, will continue to be condescending towards those who doubt, or argue with them at all. As someone said earlier, atheists have nothing to prove, it is the theists who MUST prove what they postulate...but they will not, preferring to tell us that they love us and hope that we find god.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  12. greenbird

    LOL @ #4. no possibility of that happening; the militant atheists are too set in their ways to be positive or civil towards theists.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Observer

      It's the militant believers that are uncivil toward their fellow human beings and want to deprive them of equal rights.

      January 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  13. Amy

    Religion is a problem. Religion has created a number of significant conflicts over time. But being religious is not the same as having faith in God. The challenge we face is that there is no longer a widespread acceptance of absolute truth. The God of heaven which exists in the hearts of millions and millions of people is a myth. The God of the Bible is just as real as the Tooth Fairy. Because you do believe it God, does not somehow make it true. It just happens to be your belief. You have faith that God does exists. I have faith that She does NOT. If you are calling for a debate then you have missed out on many exchanges/debates that have already taken place.

    There is a truth and it is absolute. The Bible is Man's Word and can't give us any answers. I will meditate for you and all who believe. One day, there will come a time when all of us will realize there is no God. I hope it works out well for you.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • In All Fairness

      Amy, may God reveal Himself to you in a special way.

      January 2, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  14. Blessed Geek

    This is my prediction for 2011 – 2012:

    The LORD is my shepherd and I shall not be in want.
    He will cause me to lie down on lush vegetation.
    He will lead me besides calm waters.
    He will restore my soul.

    Yea, even when I walk thro the valley of the shadow of death
    Yet, I will fear no evil.
    For You stand with me,
    Your sceptre and your shepherding staff shall comfort me.

    You will lead me within the confines of rightness
    for your Name's sake.

    You will have a table served before me to confront my enemies.
    You will enrich my head with oil.
    My cup will overflow
    Surely, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life
    And I will spend a lot more time within the presence of the LORD.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  15. Greg

    I predict that Apocalypses won't happen this year, and Jesus won't arise from dead either. That prediction never failed so far.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  16. derekmatthew

    i think we need a wikileaks, and whistle blowers for organized religion. just my opinion

    January 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  17. Gary

    government is necessary and can be linear, Religion is man made. No way to prove or disprove. imaginary and worthless

    January 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  18. Zephyr, AKA That First Guy

    i found an interesting quote from the treaty of tripoli from 1797 for all you islamaphobes and false christians:
    "The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen [Muslims]."

    January 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  19. Brandon Ortega

    May I wish everyone a Happy New Years! As far as 2011 predictions are concerned, I know of a group talking about a biblical prediction this year (2011) that is very curious. They're called Family Stations Inc. or Family Radio out of Oakland, California. Even CNN's Larry King intestinally had the President of Family Radio for a interview about some biblical predictions in the early 90's. Anyways, they claim the bible predicts May 21, 2011 will be the return of Jesus Christ and that the world will be reserved for a burning destruction five months later. Seems like the biblical story of Noah's Ark all over again.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  20. In All Fairness

    Interesting comments tonight...so sweet to see the Religious blog for CNN news getting all the attention! I would be here all night trying to read all the posts. Clearly deep down inside all of us there is something that draws us to Him`. Thank you for showing me this.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:40 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.