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. Mrs. Downhome America

    A page of article and ten pages of bellicose meanderings. . . I predict we will never make any progress morally or religously until we learn to pull together, put aside those things we cannot agree on, and do as much good as we can. You can't shovel the darkness out of a room, you can only flood it with light. Put down your shovels, and open the windows. I so agree with Orson Scott Card, the Republican Party does not own the Mormons as they suppose. We need a new thrid party that advocates for the widows and orphans, as well as the unborn. You can't build a stable society when most chiildren are raised in poverty, when people feel hopeless because the playing field is no way even. Evein in feudalism, there was a social contract that provided some protection for the ordinary people. We are eating the flesh of our own arm. Why shoud we continually sacrrifice sanity to support the beltway bandits? Democrat,, Republican, conservative, liberal, all have lost their meaning and now only tell you who is paying the bills. We are now in the grip of those who subscribe to the "Mahan Princlple", which is the exchange of life for cash and goods. Look around the world, it's the same thing everywhere. I predict that the Mormons will awake to our awful situation, I hope we all do, before it is too late to defend ourselves from those who , like the ancient people of Easter Island destroyed everything trying to possess everything.

    January 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  2. RammingSpeed

    Thank you for all of your hate towards Christians, for you are doing as predicted. Christians have been told this will happen in the last days. once again thank you all. Matthew 24:9

    January 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    So when ye have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of Allah, as ye used to celebrate the praises of your fathers;―yea, with far more heart and soul. There are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us (Thy bounties) in this world!" but they will have no portion in the hereafter. (200) And there are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the fire!" (201) To these will be allotted―what they have earned, and Allah is quick in account. (202).

    An-Nahl sura 16:
    For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger, (with the Command) "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the people were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom Error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). (36) If thou art anxious for their guidance, yet Allah guideth not such as He leaves to stray, and there is none to help them. (37) They swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that Allah will not raise up those who die: Nay but it is a promise (binding) on Him in truth: but most among mankind realise it not. (38) (They must be raised up), in order that He may manifest to them the Truth of that wherein they differ, and that the rejecters of Truth may realize that they had indeed (surrendered to) Falsehood. (39) For to anything which We have willed, We but say the Word, "Be" and it is. (40) To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression― We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world: but truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater if they only realize (this)! (41) (They are) those who persevere in patience, and put their trust on their Lord. (42).

    January 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  4. Muneef

    For Quran research and English reading find this tool just received link of;


    January 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Shawna R. B. Atteberry

    I'd like to remind Donald Miller that the evangelical movement is just one part of the Church in the U.S. Just because the evangelical part of the church "will, like sheep, lose their focus on the grace and love of Christ and wander astray," doesn't mean the entire Church in the U.S. will do the same thing. In fact, my part of the church, The Episcopal Church, is intensifying our focus "on the grace and love of Christ" as our society gets more and more fractured as are many other mainline denominations.

    My prediction is that more evangelicals will follow what I and several friends have done in recent years leaving evangelicalism and it's infighting for other denominations, and not just going to mainline Protestant churches either. There is a growing trend of evangelicals going into the Catholic and Orthodox churches as well.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  6. KAB

    "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is." 'Nough said

    January 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Ya-Seen Sura 36: 
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
     Sin. (1) By the wise Qur'an, (2) Lo! thou art of those sent (3) On a straight path, (4) A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful, (5) That thou mayst warn a folk whose fathers were not warned, so they are heedless. (6) Already hath the word proved true of most of them, for they believe not. (7) Lo! We have put on their necks carcans reaching unto the chins, so that they are made stiff-necked. (8) And We have set a bar before them and a bar behind them, and (thus) have covered them so that they see not. (9) Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not, it is alike for them, for they believe not. (10) Thou warnest only him who followeth the Reminder and feareth the Beneficent in secret. To him bear tidings of forgiveness and a rich reward. (11) Lo! We it is Who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before (them), and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear Register. (12).

    January 4, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  8. Sandy

    How I wish someone would really read their Bible. It's time people woke up. In Genesis 1 it says we were made in their image! In both the Old testament and the new, it says "Ye are gods" . They knew that the "earth hung on nothing", long before the catholic church punished "---–" because he claimed that the earth was not the center of the universe. "God" always said that He would be our God if we would obey Him. Always future tense.
    The basic clue to the Bible is-"-THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN" That's in Eccl. The Bible is a history book.
    He looks like us! He has eyes ears nose and feet! Oh! and HIS hair is white!

    Christ was inplanted in Mary–we can do that now. There is a lot more, but if your interested you know where to look.

    I don't know about you but I am willing to give Him honor and respect and love. I'll obey His commandments He and His people are thousands if not millions of years ahead of us and I'd like to know more about them.

    January 4, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  9. Armed Infidel

    CNN Censor/Moderator,

    Well, what a pleasant surprise, all 3 of my posts appeared on this blog this morning!

    Thank you CNN for proving me wrong, that you can handle the truth about Islam.

    January 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Armed Infidel

      What Wajahat Ali was really predicting without the Islamic propaganda "spin:"

      A new generation of Muslim terrorists will bust out of their culturally and politically isolated safehouses and sleeper cells to passionately wage a more violent "operational" form of jihad against the kafirs; they will continue to spew their Islamic propaganda in an ongoing effort to keep the ignorant kafirs "in the dark" and all the while perpetuating the myth that Islam has been stolen, used, abused and hijacked by extremists, terrorists and fear-mongering propagandists.

      January 7, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Armed Infidel

      CNN Censor/Moderator: So, where did my earlier post/comments go? They have been removed since the afternoon of January 4th!! They were only up on this blog for a couple of hours (just in time for me to write my thank you letter for posting them!) and then they were removed!

      January 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  10. Lake Effect

    I didn't know there were any swing states in the west. I thought all elections were decided on the east side of the Mississippi. My prediction for these predictors is that most of them will prove to be false prophets.

    January 4, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  11. Jocelyn

    I would have loved to hear from the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, instead of Orson Scott Card! President Monson would have surely contributed much more to this piece with his prediction for 2011.

    January 4, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  12. Ktusoon

    I predict that in 2011 Orson Scott Card will at least once enter a Mormon temple, don white clothing, a baker's hat and a green apron, and sit in a room where all the men sit on one side and all the women sit on the other. I predict he'll watch a really boring film about wacky secret Mormon doctrine and convince himself he's watching something really profound and learning something new(while fighting to stay awake). I predict he'll go through all the secret handshakes again but not the penalties, since those were removed from this perfect Mormon temple rite back in the 90s.

    January 4, 2011 at 2:14 am |
  13. Scott M

    I have a prediction that is at least 95% certain:

    The Religious right is going to become more and more hysterical and shrill, and continue to pretend that they are some kind of oppressed minority.

    The political left still won't have the guts to stand up to them.

    Bad things will happen to people all over the world.

    Good things will happen to people all over the world.

    Wingnuts will spin more and more elaborate conspiracy "theories".

    The anti-science crowd will continue to plug its ears.

    The Tea Party will make up more nonsense about President Obama, who will continue to ignore them.

    Another year of the Same. Old. Crud.

    January 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  14. Arglebargle

    It will be the same religious crap, different day. People will use religion to pull the nation apart even more...instead of working together to serve each other and the glory of God, religiousites will make it their duty to spend as much time as possible belittling the faith of others and trying to gather to themselves positions of power and influence based not on obeying the will of God, but on becoming rich at the hands of their flocks.

    January 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  15. TBP

    Why is CNN giving Orson Scott Card a platform? Isn't there some Mormon out there who hasn't called for the violent overthrow of the government if gay marriage is allowed?

    January 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  16. Aaron

    Here's a 100% sure prediction for 2011: religious fundies and other kooks will continue to make stuff up out of thin air and continue lying and telling us that they have special insight into magical prophecies.

    January 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Rich

    I predict that gullible, deluded people all over the world will continue to believe in a non-existent god.

    January 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Zernk

    This "article" and these comments are such a waste of everyone's time. How about everyone just give up on these futile arguments, then go out and do something useful for humanity? Not a single one of you is doing anything productive here.

    January 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  19. graeme

    "Read Strobel, Willard, McDowell or any of the other wonderful theologians that refuse to check their brains at the door either. Weigh all of the evidence"

    You see, the thing is that we HAVE looked at this "evidence". I've read A Case for Christ and A Case For A Creator and I have come to the conclusion that it is utter bunk. Though I wouldn't let someone else's opinion sway me, I've went right to the source. The Holy Books. The Bible and the Qu'ran. I've read both. And again, I come to the conclusion that they are the ravings of madmen, or at least the ravings of primitive jealous, greedy shiesters, who wanted to have some control over the population at the time, not the divine words of the holy all knowing all loving all seeing creator of the entire universe. Many atheists have read these books as well! That's why we're atheists!

    January 3, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  20. Calladus

    Might as well start reading Chicken entrails – it makes as much sense as asking believers in supernatural nonsense what they think.

    January 3, 2011 at 10:54 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.