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. Muneef

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion: and He over all things Hath Power― (1) He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving― (2) He Who created the seven heavens one above another; no want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious. so turn thy vision again: Seest thou any flaw? (3) Again turn thy vision a second time; (thy) vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited, in a state worn out. (4) And We have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire. (5) For those who reject their Lord (and Cherisher) is the Penalty of Hell: and evil is (such) destination. (6) When they are cast therein, they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth. (7) Almost bursting with fury: every time a Group is cast therein its Keepers will ask "Did no Warner come to you?" (8) They will say: "Yes indeed: a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said `Allah never sent down any (Message): ye are in nothing but an egregious delusion!' " (9) They will further say: "Had we but listened or used our intelligence we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!" (10) They will then confess their sins: but far will be (Forgiveness) from the Companions of the Blazing Fire! (11) As for those who fear their Lord unseen for them is Forgiveness and a great Reward. (12) And whether ye hide your word or publish it, He certainly has (full) knowledge, of the secrets of (all) hearts. (13) Should He not know― He that created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them). (14) It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse ye through its tracts and enjoy of the Sustenance which He furnishes: but unto Him is the Resurrection. (15) Do ye feel secure that He Who is in heaven will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes (as in an earthquake)? (16) Or do ye feel secure that He Who is in Heaven will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones), so that ye shall know how (terrible) was My warning? (17) But indeed men before them rejected (My warning): then how (terrible) was My rejection (of them)? (18) Do they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in? None can uphold them except (Allah) Most Gracious: truly it is He that watches over all things. (19) Nay, who is there that can help you, (even as) an army, besides (Allah) Most Merciful? In nothing but delusion are the Unbelievers. (20) Or who is there that can provide you with Sustenance if He were to withhold His provision? Nay, they obstinately persist in insolent impiety and flight (from the Truth). (21) Is then one who walks headlong, with his face grovelling, better guided― or one who walks evenly on a Straight Way? (22) Say: "It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing, seeing, and understanding: little thanks it is ye give." (23) Say: "It is He Who has multiplied you through the earth, and to Him shall ye be gathered together." (24) They ask: When will this promise be (fulfilled)? If ye are telling the truth. (25) Say: "As to the knowledge of the time, it is with Allah alone: I am (sent) only to warn plainly in public." (26) At length, when they see it close at hand, grieved will be the faces of the Unbelievers, and it will be said (to them): "This is (the promise fulfilled) which ye were calling for!" (27) Say: "See ye?― If Allah were to destroy me, and those with me, or if He bestows His Mercy on us― yet who can deliver the Unbelievers from a grievous Penalty?" (28) Say: "He is (Allah) Most Gracious: we have believed in Him, and on Him have we put our trust: so soon will ye know which (of us) it is that is in manifest error." (29) Say: "See ye?― If your stream be some morning lost (in the underground earth), who then can supply you with clear-flowing water?" (30)

    January 3, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  2. KG

    Given the historical record of "faith-based prediction", why would anyone take this nonsense seriously?

    January 3, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Faith. ( the same reason as every other time )

      January 4, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  3. Cheryl Petersen

    Reclaiming the faith in religion, #2....nice. I don't view religion as commodity to be owned, classed, or thrown out. But, to reclaim the faith in discovery of truth.

    January 3, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  4. guestwhite

    on any given school day, what proportion of the student body is not high?

    January 3, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  5. guestwhite

    @John C see here ufohumanlink apageinthelife

    January 3, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  6. pominoz

    Who/what created the creator?

    January 3, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • MarkinFL


      January 4, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  7. Stupidity of all religions?

    All religions are stupid? That statement is stupid. Some religions are destructive, but not all. Religion enriches the lives of many millions of people–giving them a moral compass, comfort in grief, and motivation to live better and to help others. Don't make the mistake of generalizing. The world would be much worse off if there were no religions at all.

    January 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Your last statement is a whopper of a generalization without any evidence whatsoever.

      January 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  8. Hope 111

    We will see in the comming times more Christian ministries falling away from the faith, and there will be a move in the Christian circles to deny the writings of Paul, denial of existanc of Hell, and acceptance of all kinds of unrighteousness in church. The true Christians will be bashed and there will be much animosity toward true Christianity. Also, there will be much anti-semitism flaring up around the Globe, even there where there were none before. There will be also exodus of God 's people, leaving corrupt churches, and they will stay home, without a place to go, till the Lord puts His people together. There will be much rioting and upheaval in the world, also more natural disasters, and things not explainable by science... This will not be an ordinary year!

    January 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  9. Believer1

    1 Cor 1:18...27
    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God"..."Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks (gentiles) look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
    I ask again...if this is a belief blog, why are there so many atheists here?

    January 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And I'll say it again – to keep an eye on "the crazies" (those that would like to turn democratic countries into theocracies), for entertainment (no end of laughs at the extent believers will go to to defend their manmade tribal myths and books of silliness) and to let those that might be thinking of joining a religious cult (yes, they are all cults, with all negative connotations intended) that there is a much more rational explanation for the things they don't understand or are having problems with.

      January 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Hope 111

      WHY? For the same reason those who were po ses-sed by de-mons were drawn to wherever Jesus was. They can not rest, they are tormented souls. We are here to give our testimonies of God's love, grace, and hope that's found in Him, for all those who come to Him in humility and repentance. They ar driven by forces they themselves don't acknowledge, but their souls are restless and they have no peace. That's why such hate comes from them toward us, Christians....

      January 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  10. BladeMcCool

    I have faith that the bible was written and edited by many different humans in some languages that were NOT ENGLISH, over a period of thousands of years. It is my humble belief that to treat the book in any other way is foolish. That said the book has lots of fun stuff in it, but treat it with a grain of salt, especially if you are not reading the original hebrew/greek texts.

    Now to solve real world problems. Nobody can command you to do anything. But Universe suggests quitting your jobs and going off to plant livable forest garden communities and join local exchange networks as a starting point to restructuring human society towards a sustainable path. Universe suggests that immediately starting on such a path, with the help of all your current friends, neighbors and associates, will pave the way for humans to live with one another peacefully here on this planet indefinitely.

    Orienting your church and faith groups towards this type of mindset could also be very productive. Civilization is changing. Evolving, if you will.

    January 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  11. Also a believer

    Thanks, John. I wish I had thought of that.....read the bible. I think maybe I'll do that. *eyeroll*

    Oh, and I mention those names as a good place to start as they are fairly easy reads, but thanks for assuming you know about everything that I read.


    January 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Mobius007

    "God helps those that help themselves", which is to say, it's nice to believe in God but you're better off relying on your own labor.

    Of course, the televangelists would beg to differ with my interpretation, arguing that you CAN buy your way into heaven. In fact, before the Reformation, this was common practice for those who could afford it.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  13. gus bode

    I have faith that news departments everywhere, especially CNN, will report on news, fact-checked truth, and work harder to provide accurate information.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  14. Reality

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed." J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  15. Apostle Eric vonAnderseck

    They should consider the covenant of Christ. If they would read the book of Revelation the future has already been sealed.http://apostlestoday.net/

    January 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      January 3, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  16. aginghippy

    What a silly question to ask: What will happen regarding religious nonsense in 2011? For hundreds of years, Muslims have been killing Christians, Christians have been killing Muslims, Muslims have been killing the "wrong kind of Muslim", mothers and fathers have killed their children in the name of God, gays have been persecuted, atheists have been persecuted, women have been persecuted, mutilated and stoned to death in the name of God, baby boys have had their genitals mutilated in the name of religion...
    Does anyone honestly believe that any of this will change just because we have assigned a new number to the date? Not until people get over the fear of death will anything change. Even the most devoted believer knows that prayer doesn't work, knows that the fairy tales at the heart of their religion are too preposterous to be taken seriously and knows that science is the only source of real understanding. So, the bottom line reason for any human to continue a belief in any deity is that humans are the only species with awareness of our own mortality. I'll admit that the toughest part of my atheism is the undeniable fact that when I die I will cease to exist. It's humbling and frightening. But the good news is that I won't KNOW that I am dead. And no matter how unpleasant the thought of death may be, wishing for eternal life, in the form of a spirit in a wonderful utopia called heaven, is not going to make it so.

    January 2, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  17. MM

    2011 will bring us one more year closer to the end of this messed up world as we know it. Everything that is going on now will only become worse and more magnified until God steps into time and end it all!

    January 2, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  18. MM

    CNN, why would you have a secular humanist commenting in a faith-based article? A secular humanist has no faith!

    January 2, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  19. Kite005

    Who put this story together? There are no predictions here really. Just views about religion. I hope Wajahat Ali is right out of all of these so called predictions.

    January 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  20. Muneef

    the treaty of tripoli from 1797

    January 2, 2011 at 11:26 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.