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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. Ilovejesus

    This century prophet jesus(peace be upon him) insallah(God willing)will return to earth to solve the worldly greed and poverty.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Ilovejesus

      Muslims love Jesus son of Mary and believe and respect all prophets of God(Allah or Allaha in arabic or Aramaic lanugae of Jesus) proof> http://www.jesuswillreturn.com

      January 13, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  2. LLewis

    I was once asked how I could believe in God and Jesus Christ, His Son when they couldn't be seen. I responded that you can't see air either but you know it's there.

    To all Christians everywhere, keep on keeping on. There's more of us than THEM.

    Don't believe in mircles? I am one and my doctors would tell you that.

    God Bless everyone that you might come to the truth. There is a reason why there are more Christians in the world than any other religion. We all can't be crazy.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Know What

      "There is a reason why there are more Christians in the world than any other religion. We all can't be crazy."

      That reason is mainly the highly effective PR campaign established by Paul of Tarsus. He had 600+ years on Mohammad.

      If Buddha had been more rabidly evangelical, they would probably be more prevalent than they are today.

      A thousand or so years ago most people thought that Earth was the center of the Universe - they were not necessarily crazy, simply wrong. The smaller number of THEM (non-believers in geocentricity) were correct.

      January 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  3. stann

    What an absolute joke these "faith based" predictions are. They are laden with the predictors own personal biases and little basis in fact. Let's compare their predictions with what's going on right now.

    – Liberal Churches are dying in droves nationwide while Conservative Evangelical churches are the only ones growing. Also, Conservative Christians have found their power niche in the Tea Party & Fox News. Sorry, gotta go with Ralph on this one.
    – Moderate Muslims only thrive in nations that can protect them from their Conservative and Radical counterparts who secure greater numbers and political power each day.
    – Atheists now dominate social media and the number of "none's" increases daily. They are no less popular than they were before the advent of the "new atheists" and with a far greater voice. Why they would take Epstien's route and do what has led to the decline of liberal Christians is anyone's guess.

    These may seem cynical to some, but at least it's what we know is going on now.

    January 10, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  4. Tominscotts

    Traditional marriage as we know it will continue to be attacked by Gays and their supporters like Steve Jobs, who abuses his power as a corporate CEO by calling 'offensive' an iPad app (previously approved for use by Apple) by the Mahattan Declaration that promoted traditional marriage and opposed abortion and having it removed. So much for the freedom of free speech in America when it can be controlled by a single person...

    January 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  5. Tominscotts

    Gays and their supporters will continue the destruction of typical marriage as we know it in America as people like Steve Jobs at Apple support their position by banning apps on the iPad that promote traditional marriages and anti-abortion messages from the Manhattan Declaration as 'offensive material'. What a sad place America has become when the minority rules the majority.....and corporate CEO's dictate moral values by abusing their high technology power.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  6. Felix

    Oh my Dog, what a bunch of nonsense...
    Some comments:
    4. About atheists engaging in "contentious debates and billboard wars," there is not such a thing. Any church can post any billboard they want, but the day an atheist puts up one is "war." Why aren't atheists allowed to expose their views like everybody else without being called a "war on religion?" Why is it that when the Second Church of Whatever (I am Second) launches a massive media blitz it's not called a war on Judaism or a war on Islam, but the day atheists put up a sign is an offense? Anyway, "American secularists will begin to embrace a message of positive humanist community..." yeah, we've been doing it for years now and nobody cares. I foresee no changes for 2011 or later. Ask how many people would vote for an atheist candidate, there you'll have your answer to the likelihood of change.

    5. The idea that the extremists acting on behalf of the devil will "play a trick on the church" and "those seeking peace will turn to liberal ideologies." Is it me or this comment kind of implies that liberal ideologies are the work (or at least the favorites) of the devil, isn't it? What a nutjob...
    How come conservatives believe that religion and conservatism go hand in hand? How is it that somebody can't be religious and liberal? Did you guys buy the exclusive rights to the religious racked? Funny, you know, after reading the Bible I'd say Jesus sounds a lot like these liberals you despise so much...

    7. Republicans will better remember that the Mormon vote doesn't belong to them. No, sure, they're split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.... come on, you guys are the most solid Republican voting bloc in the country. They know they got you by the guts, no matter what they do you will keep voting for them. If you don't trust me, look at history: anti-choice groups are the most reliable Republican voters, yet in years and years in power Republicans have done nothing for them. They don't have to, no matter what happens, these guys will always vote Republican. You're the same. If you want negotiating power, try voting Democrat ever now in a while (like that's going to happen...). It's pure game theory, you'll get nothing out of a deal unless you have some real threat or can cause real damage to the other party. By being so predictable, you've lost power.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Mm

    To all above that have publicly dissed on the religions and beliefs of others, I have this to say. The moment you begin to persecute other people for their beliefs is the moment you begin to persecute your own. The beauty of America is the fact that we have the right to freely display what we believe, and to freely display our opinions. You have the right to say whatever you like about other people's beliefs, but please refrain from being cruel. You enjoy the righ ts of America, but yet you would like to step on other people's rights that do not agree with your own. This is not right. To quote Thomas Paine, “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”

    January 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  8. for His fame

    People are imperfect. Jesus was perfect. The devil tricked us all when it becomes more about "religion" and less about Jesus.

    January 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  9. Beast and the harlot, or the King and His Bride

    I predict secular and religious humanists will continue to reject their Creator and Redeemer and CNN will continue doing "feel good" stories about their vomit.

    And a growing number of humanists will realize the One who actually lived and died and rose from the dead for them is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    January 7, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  10. Haime52

    I'd try to explain this to you all, but only a few would even try to understand. Mayhap the best quote is this, "The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world and the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God." and "spiritual things are spiritually discerned..." – Saul of TarsUS

    Even Dawkins, the most vocal of Atheists, accedes to the possibility that God exists. He just says that it is not likely. Evolution, in it's very essence, cannot exclude the existence of God. After all, given 13.7 billion years(their timeline, not mine), it cannot exclude the possibility that God evovled, somewhere in the universe.

    The rest of my thoughts, are my own and will not fit into anyone's mold, so do not try to brand me, I refuse to be branded or otherwise labeled. Labels are for those who insist on putting people into pigeon holes and thus dehumanize them.

    January 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  11. Thomas J. Burger

    On May 21, 2011, every knee shall bend when Jesus returns to collect those of the elect as written in the Book of Life. 153 days later, October 21, He will destroy the universe as promised.

    January 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  12. Keith Daniel

    My prediction?? Man will be reacquainted with God. Unwillingly in most cases. The God of Abraham. The God of Isaac. The God of Ishmael. The same God of Elijah and the God of Jesus of Nazareth. The God of Christians and Muslims alike.... "Watch closely now. I'm going to teach these wrongheaded people.
    Starting right now, I'm going to teach them Who I am and what I do,
    teach them the meaning of my name, God—'I Am.'" -Jeremiah 16:21

    January 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  13. Woody Bailey

    I noticed that Ralph Reed's prediction was almost totally political......not that I find that hard to believe.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  14. Nick C

    Jesus Christ is LORD! After worshiping with 22,000 college aged believers in Atlanta, GA the past four days at the Passion conference, I began to realize more and more that Jesus is the restoration this world is seeking. He can break down the social barriers. He can heal the wounded, the hungry, the broken. He can unite people of all nations–for example followers of Jesus of Afghanistan with American followers of Jesus–something that no other name in history has or will ever do. The world is broken from OUR sin and OUR choice to live how we desire. And, if you truly evaluate your life, YOUR soul longs for something more–the world can easily blind you from that–but EVERYONE seeks something more out of life that money, fame, family, etc. cannot fulfill. And, the answer to this is thirst for more is JESUS CHRIST! Open the Bible and read the Word of the LIVING GOD! There is so much evidence historically and scientifically that proclaim Jesus Christ and his fame!

    Isaiah 26:8 "Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

    May followers of Jesus around the world rise up and proclaim the name of Christ in boldness! He is alive and deserves all of worship!

    January 5, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  15. susan

    I pray the next year brings more people to faith in Jesus Christ, the One that was tortured and hung on the Cross for them, to be resurrected three days later. Christianity is belief in Jesus Christ, it is nothing like mormonism, Islam, etc. The people that started those religions are dead and gone, they cannot help anyone now. Jesus id The Son of God, He is alive, He will return one day in the future. The Bible is the literal Word of God,the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is the same yesterday,today and tomorrow. He never spoke a lie, He was perfect in all ways, He is the God of the Bible. There are gods that people worship, such as gold, money, other people, and Satan, those things will all send them to Hell. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven. esus said"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but through Me. Find Him and yuu will be much happier.

    January 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  16. harold m

    apathy is apparently present; these are one of the main points, the book of revelation points out. Christ shall rule the day he will, and the battle of gog and mago is near, but for the believers keep yopur faith a litle while longer, all will be made right soon the unbelivers,satan worshippers and pagans alike shall recieve there just do reward, Jesus christ shall rule the day and beyond.

    January 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  17. Roshea1956

    Muslims in America w/a special open door provided by Obama, have opened a hornet's nest. Imam's, come into Mosque's and teach hate America, don't tell me they don't. They have Muslims on the streets speaking 'hate America', terrorism. They want Sharia Law, and pushing this in courts (Oklahoma), want their speakers to play outside all day long(Michigan). America needs to deal w/them fast or face what Europe has gotten a taste of, now wishing they prevented them from entering their countries. Saying their peaceful is history once even they are threatened by terrorist to do the work of jihad by radicals. Don't tell me Muslim professors are not heading the fight for jihad in our colleges. I don't believe you anymore. Stop immigration and deliver them out of America back to their own country. Islam and American ethics don't work. Maybe this is what our leaders want though, to cause chaos (Obama) and disruption of USA for return of Madhi. Go sell "peace" somewhere else I'm not buying. Get them out of America! Leave them here and get ready for war if America has any guts left to fight or too drugged out of their minds which I think the gov. wants to happen.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Muneef

      Surely if those immigrants had peaceful and productive countries they would have not immigrated to your country..but only because their countries are messed up by your politics supporting corrupted régimes and worthless rulers against the will of the majority of population! Then you should not be surprised when the youth of those populations start immigrating towards your countries...!! Can see and hear so many die on the way towards your sea shores and boarders..!!

      But now those are already there at yours maybe if you prepare them right as to education and training for finally deputing them to return to their own countries with the needful backup and authority they will be useful tools for the advancement and prosperity of their nations then you will have no one wanting to immigrate leaving behind their own families and friends...in addition to that you will see those who immigrated towards your country start moving back to their own countries and this is the only solution to resolve the issue of illegal immigration and to find peace...otherwise if things go on as it is today surely slowly slowly you will find that your own countries become inherited by piling up immigrants who might get starved due negligence turn on against the Host country...that has contributed in the destructions of their countries but not towards and advancements or developments of their countries and nations to find peace and make a living..!?

      January 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  18. Roshea1956

    I predict that the people will be lead by their noses by the greedy rich to move toward the one world union as they are unwittingly used by those who care less abt them. Feel so right abt what u believe caring less abt other's rights or feelings, something you ur self wouldn't want does it make it right? No. It's the lesson supposedly learned when young, allow others right to live their way. No, from the points made above sounds like let's beat another down for our gain, destroy others for our benefit. Think your right they are wrong. Sounds more like a world of undisciplined brats. These points make me believe that a fire is being started that many will wish didn't. I'll give u a prediction w/ all this hate. World War III. More disasters, more death. You reap what you sow.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  19. Christian (That's my name AND faith) (^^

    I believe that we all are supposed to be friends. Whether e be Christian, Mormon, Atheist, Republican, Democratic, Muslim, etc. No good will come from these fights over religion and faith. We all ought to love one another. Therein lies peace.

    January 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Roshea1956

      Is is not written, "I didn't come to bring peace but a sword..." the world is well on its way to WWIII. Tribulation is knocking louder and louder. Christians need to prepare for their stand. The world will go its way into its own kindgom which is going the way of destruction. Christ and His Kingdom is all that matters, that is where we are heading not political groups or trying to convince the dying world of peace between Christians and others, the word is meaningless to them.To know Christ is peace, yes. He calls whom He wants. Don't get involved in Christian politics which many will and lose their way. Christ is bringing in His Kingdom. The earth is groaning in a birth process as we see. The answers the world thinks is the "right way" is the wrong path, and many follow it to their demise. We have a different agenda the world can't understand, doesn't want to hear (some will though). The path we follow is hardly used and a difficult road, many refuse it. We are to get ready for the great persecution that will open the greatest revival we have ever witnessed. Americans don't know suffering, but we soon will, Rejoice, be glad, for great is ur reward, many will turn to Christ, and the world won't understand it, and hate us more and more, so did they hate Christ & killed him (I'm not talking abt the jews, Christ gave His life no one took it).

      January 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  20. Gary Ingersoll

    Religion takes away all our rights to behave in a manner which would improve our lives and express ourselves freely. The sooner we move away from fantasy-based beliefs and adopt belief in the ability of people to treat each other with respect and to get the things from life we want to have in our lives. Atheism makes perfect sense, religion is dictatorship.

    January 4, 2011 at 3:48 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.