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. Karen Stromquist

    The Christianity that I love and believe in commands us to love and accept one another. True Christianity is of grace and love, and I am awed that God loved me and you so much that He sacrificed His Son for our eternal salvation.

    January 2, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  2. Lalitha Krishnaswamy

    Hope 2011 will see a Vatican that will follow Christ's Ten Commandments:Thou shall not lie,Thou shall not steal.The Catholic priests are spreading false reports that they are being persecuted in India.Anyone who comes here should go on any Sunday,leave alone X Mas,tot he Churches and witness the happy throngs crowding into their places of worship.The Vatican is guity of converting people of other religions to their Faith through falsehood and corruption.We Hindus believe that we can all live together peacefully,without trying to convert everyone to our beliefs,wake up,missionaries!

    January 2, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  3. Robert Landbeck

    What science, religion, philosophy, theology, psychology, Hawkins or Dawkins thought impossible has happened. History now has it's first fully demonstrable, Christian proof for faith. And coming from outside all existing theologies, clearly has 'tradition' in the cross hairs. Quoting from an online review:

    "The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality. A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. For the first time in history, however unexpected or unwelcome, the world must contend with a claim to new revealed truth, a moral wisdom not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! "

    If confirmed and there appears a growing concerted effort to test and authenticate this material, of which I am taking part, this will represent a paradigm change in the nature of faith and in the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself;  untangling the greatest  questions of human existence: sustainability, consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil. And at the same time addressing the most profound problems of our age.

    While the religious will find this news most difficult, those who have claimed to be of an Enlightenment mind should find it of particular interest. But if they are unable to appreciate this change in the historical faith paradigm, to one that conforms precisely to a criteria subject to test and confirmation, then their own 'claim' to rationality is no more than pretension nor better then those theological illusions they find so abhorrent.

    A unexpected revolution appears to be under way. More info at http://www.energon.org.uk

    January 2, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I recall you making this claim in another thread, and that you ignored my repsonse/questions after I read some of the "stuff" there. I don't think there was anything new there and certainly no prooof of anything.

      January 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  4. Lalitha Krishnaswamy

    The report that Christians are being persecuted in India is totally false-witness the throngs at churches and the holiday atmosphere there free from fear.I hope 2011 will bring forth an honesty hitherto missing from biased Christian reporters.Learn to respect all beliefs and do not try to convert either through temptations ,or through coersion as you are we inclined to do.Live and let live as Hinduism teaches all good Hindus to be and we are a vast majority of this world's population.

    January 2, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Hope 111

      No, Lalitha, you are wrong, and I suspect, your posts are in itself a false propaganda.... Christians are persecuted, and falsely accused of many horrific things. it is the hindu leaders that are afraid of Christianity spreading among the poor, downtrodden, opressed people who are rejected by society and counted as refuse, who when they hear the beautiful gospel of Christ, open their hearts and turn to the Lord who gives them hope and worth they never knew before. You should try to listen, and open your heart, He will do away with the hate and bitterness that's in it. That's what Jesus Christ does to those who come to Him, with humble and contrite hearts. He sets them FREE!

      January 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  5. David in Houston

    The church is going to lose more and more 'followers' if they continue to demonize gay people. 3/4 of the populous know someone who is gay, and they don't have an issue with it. The majority of people under the age of 40 support full civil rights and marriage equality for gay people. The church is clearly going to lose this battle if they insist on digging in their heels. The younger generation doesn't believe any of the anti-gay rhetoric that they're spewing, so if they have the smallest amount of common sense they rethink their agenda.

    January 2, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  6. Lalitha Krishnaswamy

    The Vatican report that Christians are being persecuted in India is utterly false.If your Roman Catholic reporter had been here during X'Mas and the New Year,he\she would have noticed the throngs crowding into churches,absolutely without any fear or danger.I think God,if He is there,should put an end to Christian missionaries spreading false reports and trying to gain converts to their fold through money.May the New Year introduce some honesty and fair play among our Christian brethren.From A hindu,practising a policy of live and let live.

    January 2, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  7. relph

    PREDICTIONS? All I want to know is Anderson Cooper gay?

    January 2, 2011 at 6:05 am |
    • David in Houston

      Have you been living under a rock for the past 5 years?

      January 2, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  8. whgage

    Dying cures people of their belief in the afterlife.

    January 2, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  9. Kevin

    Some predictions for 2011:
    1) Jesus won't make his return.
    2) Armageddon won't take place.
    3) The rapture won't happen.
    4) The Antichrist won't make his appearance.
    5) Nobody will be forced to receive 'the mark of the beast'.
    6) Intelligent design will not be taught in our schools.
    7) Christians will continue to butt into the personal lives of others while whining about being persecuted.
    8) I will continue to be a happy, healthy, Atheist!

    January 2, 2011 at 5:36 am |
  10. Ciscoheat

    I kind of see religion like a pharmaceutic test...with several different medications and one sugar pill. If only we could see the results of this blind test! ; )

    January 2, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  11. JimBob

    If God can kill 200,000 in a Tsunami, can't he afford his own cable network & set us all straight for once & for all ? " People the Presbyterians got it, forget them Catholics & Methodists, and don't get me started on them Muslims" He could perform a miracle in prime time, like move Manhattan to Juarez. We'd all be convinced. It would be undeniable. Instant universal conversion. ALLMIGHTY GOD shouldn't have any problem with that.

    January 2, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  12. Zephyr, AKA That First Guy

    Quick question: If God controls everything that happens everywhere, then why is there things like natural disasters, wars, murder, ra-pe, drugs etc?

    January 2, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  13. Evolved DNA

    If "god" did appear one day in the form of a "regular" human and declared himself as such.. would the religious believe him or demand proof of who is is, or claimed to be. Would faith alone really be enough I very much doubt it..they would demand proof, just as we demand proof of his existence.

    January 2, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  14. Tom R

    The responses are more entertaining than the article both for the most part are hogwash.

    January 2, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  15. Oodoodanoo

    Except for Harold Kushner and Selena Fox, these predictions are about nothing but political battles. Kushner and Fox are the only two calling for people to calm down and get along with each other.

    January 2, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  16. Justina

    America will deteriorate because of moral decadence and lose the power as the central figure. Nations will conspire together and set up a villain as their world leader and plan to attack Israel. Meanwhile the nature world continues to be devastated. Then there will be nuclear war or flying stuff from skies for most nations to be destroyed as judgment. The timing is unknown. The Bible is for all to read and study.

    January 2, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Observer

      Speaking of reading the Bible:

      – Ecclesiastes 7:10 “Do not say, "Why is it that the former days were better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.”

      January 2, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  17. Mick

    2011 will be a year that will separate the sheep from the goats, and the true bible believing Christians will be called intolerant bigots because we chose to believe what the bibles tells us.. If we don't believe what the word of God tells us we will be goats and Christ will not be our King of kings and our Lord of lords. Sorry but that's the bottom line for Christian (Christ followers), while mainstream Churches have forgotten or never had that knowledge...

    January 2, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  18. mytwocentsworth

    Here's my prediction: Whiny atheists and secular humanists will continue sounding off on the Belief Blog in 2011. Their fear will shine through - loud and clear - with every hateful and spiteful post they make.

    These people claim to support freedom of expression, but they loudly protest any profession of faith - and do their best to silence anyone that doesn't toe the party line of "we descended from monkeys. When we die; it's over. Pass the bananas."

    Believe what you want, but give others space to believe what they want as well - without shrill shrieks that try to drown out the truth of Christianity...

    What are you afraid of? If it's nothing, why waste your time in commenting???

    January 2, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Observer

      Everyone is certainly free to believe whatever they want. The problem comes when religious people try to inflict their beliefs by denying others equal rights. Being quiet will not fix the ignoring of the Golden Rule.

      January 2, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Hope 111

      I second that! 🙂

      January 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Hope 111

      "The problem comes when religious people try to inflict their beliefs by denying others equal rights".
      It's not tahe problem witah wanting the equal right.... It's whta kind of rights you want to aq

      January 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Hope 111

      "The problem comes when religious people try to inflict their beliefs by denying others equal rights".

      It's not the problem with wanting the equal rights... It's what kind of rights you want to aquire, and what are the implications of it...

      January 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @hope 111

      How about exercising your freedom of speech and religion and telling us specifically which rights you are in favor of denying and why?

      January 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Hope 111

      Hot air, I did, you just didn't read it! (few comments above- in reply to Observer) That should be sufficient!

      January 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Hope 111

      Thanks for the reference – while I did miss your earlier post, I thought gays were your target, so was not disappointed...

      Of course you are wrong about marriage – it is in no way unique to religion – you might want to look at an earlier post by me to notyourname that contains a definition of marriage and asks a couple of questions related to same.

      I went back and read all your posts. Perhaps you could explain why gays are not a legitimate minority – seems that several nations disagree with you. Also, please elaborate on why same-s3x marriage is "warped", why denying equal rights to gays is not discrimination, and why, in your view, this about preservation and presevation of what.

      In summary, please amplify and justify your statements.

      January 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      mytwocentsworth..if responding to your comments is whining then get used to it. It appears then that your god must have made some of you with thinner skin than others? You may notice the thousands of church billboards all over that are in the face of everyone year round..and you are concerned with blog responses. If you have the "Truth".. then show it..As many have mentioned religion is getting dangerous and could undermine humanity.. are we concerned you bet...

      January 3, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  19. brad

    Religion is Mans way of getting to God.. Jesus Christ was God's way of getting to man.. and this was done approx 2011 years ago, which is the birth of Jesus Christ, God and Man, being of both but not mixed or intertwined.. We will spend FAR more time on the OTHER SIDE OF DEATH this this side.. are you willing to bet your soul, your pride on where, how you'll spend eternity? So when it comes to Athiests, Agnostics, Secular Humanists. think of it this way "Spend your life believing in something and in the end find out there is nothing, or spend your life believing in nothing and in the end lose everything." God Bless and Happy New Year

    January 2, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Observer

      "Spend your life believing in something and in the end find out there is nothing,"

      Not that simple. Religious beliefs are often used to deny others equal rights as is happening to gay people. If someone's beliefs were left to only them, that would be fine, but most religious people can't do that.

      January 2, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Godless

      So in other words, you are a chicken sh** who would rather be a pu*** and live in fear of making the wrong choice than thinking critically and living your life without the bounds of religion. Nice to know.

      January 2, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Hope 111

      Religious beliefs are often used to deny others equal rights as is happening to gay people."...
      The problem is, you are putting the demands of gays in the same category as of those of real, legitimate minority groups! This can never be counted as the same!
      However, gays should not be treated any differently as other humann beings, just leave your se – xual iss-ues out of la-ws concernig mar-riage. It -is be-tween woman and man, and everything else is war-ped. Now, this is not a "dis-crim-ination" case, but case of preservation of nor-mal, sa-ne society. And that's something any nor-mal, sa-ne person understands!

      January 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Oh America for you have become has Sodom and Gomorrah and you are in lust of this world.
    shall there be 50 people out of many so God would not consume this nation,
    For i say unto you that the day shall come in which judgment shall come over all.
    I myself do not belong to this world for i am a messenger in which speaks in times of evil planing total control of all.
    For in the begging of time i was in Gods plans and he called unto to me and said for the end of times is near.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Observer

      "the end of time is near".
      Christians have said that for over 2,000 years. They were ALL WRONG for 2,000 years. No reason you would be any different.

      January 2, 2011 at 1:11 am |
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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.