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. Lisa

    So much for predictions.

    March 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  2. daniel

    wow preditction #7 couldnt have be further off.

    March 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  3. Nobuki

    After watching Eric and Paul Pi, I jupmed on the Lets do Nancy w/a 20# weight vest wagon this morning. I honestly need to make the OHS a little bit heavier in Nancy and I since i suck at running I figured this would be a great way to make them both harder. My OHS were much slower today b/c the weight vest (1) made me fight for balance and (2) the extra 20# was smoked my hamstrings.18:34

    July 30, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  4. fatty

    this is the worst stuff ever

    January 10, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  5. Steven

    From Douglas Adams: "G-d says to man: I refuse to prove that I exist, because proof denies faith and without faith, I'm nothing." Trying to prove the existence of G-d is like trying to prove that chocolate is better than vanilla. If you believe it, it can be true, but if you don't then nothing will convince you. Oh, and faith isn't only the province of one religion.

    January 27, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Angel

      why cant you write Gods name and use the o in it. And out of more respect he should at least have the first letter of his name capitalized showing that he is of importance. Not petty, truthful.

      March 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Athy

      He's only important if you've been conditioned as a child to believe in him. He is not important to me.

      March 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Father Time


      Did you notice the date on this article? Two YEARS ago!
      (how'd you dig this one up... and why?)

      March 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  6. Beverly Kurtin

    As Jew-hate spreads throughout Europe and the Middle-East, elements are infecting the United States. Non-Christian groups such as the United Presbyterian Churches are showing their true colors by turning on American Jews and Israel. Other groups that call themselves Christian are violently attacking synagogues and Jews right here in the good old United States The Blood Libel is being used in Islamic states: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and others are bringing up the old lies that Jews need blood to make their Passover matzos and to make Purim pastries. Even Sarah Palin has said that she is having a blood libel put out on her which clearly shows her ignorance and willingness to try to disclaim the shooting in Tuscon. Both she and that piece of work, Bachman, have toldl there backers to raise their arms and reload. Bachman has called for her state to be armed and dangerous. If that isn't encouraging violence I don't know what is.

    If you have a bible, go to Leviticus chapter 17 which prohibits Jews from eating blood for the life of the person or animal IS IN THE BLOOD. Several years ago in Russia a rabbi was brought before the court with the charge of blood libel. He had a normal housewife enter the courtroom. She brought some eggs with her. She broke an egg into a container, inspected it carefully and then poured the egg into a third container. She then broke a second egg, carefully examined it and put it in with the other egg. The judge was perplexed. "How does that prove anything?" the judge asked. The rabbi said that had even a single drop of blood was in the egg, she would have to throw it away as it was not proper to eat because of the blood.

    With that the judge dismissed the case against the rabbi. "If a common housewife discards a valuable egg because of a tiny amount of blood, then how could any Jew drink any blood?"

    Lies have been told about Jewish people for thousands of years. Why? Because the Jews were chosen by God to be his special people and Gentiles think that gives Jews special favors. No! It means that Gentiles only have to keep the seven Noahide laws while the Jews have been chosen to fulfill 617 Laws! That is something to be jealous of?

    We are accused of being the most powerful people on the face of the earth. We are less than 2/100ths of one percent of the world's population. How could we have any power? We are accused of owning banks in which we are not allowed to even serve on the boards of those banks. We are accused of having more power than anyone else in Washington. We, the least of the people have THAT kind of power? No way.

    People accuse us of being wealthy. I am a Jew who is 70 years young and earn less than $20,000 a year because I have been cheated by Gentile employers who decided that Jews should get less than Gentiles. I had my ENTIRE 401(k) destroyed by one of the largest banks in America.

    I used to be beat up in school for being the only Christ killer in that school. Do Jews have time machines to kill the weak, impotent Christian god? Besides, it was the Romans who killed a Jewish preacher for claiming to be the king of the Jews.

    Now, I have Christian friends. But until I was in my 30s I loathed Christianity so much that I would not walk on the same side of the street where a church existed. I still don't trust too many Christians.

    I would like to ask a question. Why are Scots thrifty but Jews are just cheap? Indeed, we are not cheap. We have given the Polio vaccine FREE TO ANYONE WHO WANTED IT. We have hospitals where nobody, Jew or Gentile can pay, that is here and in Israel.

    In Israel Arabs who routinely attack us with rockets, we treat them just as we treat our own. Our children's hospitals repair children's hearts to give them a long, healthy life. Parents are afraid to tell their countries that they have had their children taken care of in in Israel. Of course, Jewish children are treated there as well and friendships are formed between Arabs and Israelis.

    Israel is called an apartheid state. That is one of the biggest lies propagated by the Arab population and non-Christian churches such as the Presbyterians spread that lie. The charges of war crimes are similarly lies. Look at any "crawler" on TV. You will see "Israel kills Palestinian." No information as to what the Arab was doing in order to get shot, just one got killed. Israelis want peace more than any other country in the world, but the Arabs refuse to be partners in that peace.

    I feel as though I'm knocking my head against a wall, but I had to say this and lot, lots more.

    January 23, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Heyo

      Our group has come of with the suggestion that since a few of us are quite crtafy we could maybe make baby blankets or even larger blankets, if this was at all helpful to them. We are also keen to buy the t-shirts, although from what we can see on the Etsy shop, they do not ship to the UK, where 5 of us in the group are living. One of our US members has offered to post them on to us once we work out the logistics.We are really excited to be able to help out in any way we can!

      June 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  7. Muneef


    His Excellency Abdallah Bin Abdul Muhsin At-Turki, Secretary General of the World Muslim League  
    "Our appeal, clear-cut and strong in its arguments and realism, is welcomed by the nations that have gone through unsuccessful attempts to ensure peace, safety and stability, which ignored the diversity of cultures and civilisations traditional for previous generations in the human development".

    Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople Orthodox Church  
    "Let the high ideals for the sake of which we have worked in concord and love these days, become the strong reality in the name of world peace and happiness of peoples. Praying to God inspired".

    His Eminence Cardinal Josef Tomco, Head of the Delegation of the Holy See
    "I thank Almighty God for bringing us together in this country to reflect and pray for peace as men and women of peace... ".

    Jona Metsger, Leader of the Judaic Delegation, Chief Rabbi of Israel  
    "The love and patience, desire to live in the world, reigning around this negotiating table, will be embodied during a life".

    Jamyang Luosangjiumei Tudanquejinima, Deputy Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China  
    "Today's world is far from tranquil, as regional conflicts triggered by ethnical, religious and territorial factors keep cropping up, Religion advocates peace and justice. Religion has been made use of from time to time, just like the strings of a harp being plucked, to trigger and foment conflicts, separation, hatred and upheaval. This has aroused the common concern of the religious leaders across the globe".

    Well say few had words spoken from the heart and some shown less concern...
    Can see there are no more efforts seriously made since not sure if those represent all branches of each faith which means their should be a congress for each faith listing all their recognized branches..and the president of each congress is then the speaker of this world congress..

    Unfortunately I am not seeing any speaker for Pagans and who made partners with God..to say some thing about how life and respect should be?
    Sure will be happy to see a speaker for the Atheist congress after all it is faith to claim God and devil do not exist..?!

    It is those who should be making codes for culture and religions and faiths living together completing each other rather than against each other...God has allowed diversity of religions and faiths out of easiness for his creatures mankind to make choices and where he will punish or give to mankind judging his inner soul (heart&mind)...and not on which religion he was...!!? Submission can be achieved through all religions or faiths and not only to what God had said but as well to what is best for the communities as to morals,values,virtues and all of that stuff that make any nations as angels on earth...? A valuable words I heard during my childhood that ( Nations are not but Morals and their Morals Go they Go with it)...!? And noted the difference between then when there were Morals and our Present time when there are non left...!?
    Then only we will be able to greet each other as Wa Salam,Peace,Shalom... 


    January 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  8. Missy DeRail

    Something you didn't mention. The use of white phosphorus on civilians by the US in Iraq. It burned the skin off the people down to their bones. And of course it killed nearly all that it touched.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Anthony Benitez

    I don't know what this means but I feel like I have to share it here. I'm 18, that's already 666, and freaks me out lol. now ever since I was little I've always been told that i was going to do something big and that god has huge plans for me. I am a believer but for that past couple years I have run away doing stupid things teens do. a couple of months ago I was the first responder to an accident with one fatality, september 23 2010. that's when everything started getting weird. within the next couple months I lost five more friends, including my pastor. that's six people and could have been seven but my mom magically survived her suicide attempt. my mom has six kids and she keeps having horrible feelings about me. there were seven people involved in the accident I told you about and only one died. that's 666. I know it seems silly but it's freaky to me. not only that ive been getting these horrible thoughts about ways I could die. and they are totally random. throughout all of this random people I've never met keep just walking up to me telling me god has something big for me. the weirdest thing that just happened last night my grandmother who practices witch craft kept having the same repeatative dream about her working at a wedding or something and a horse coming up to her and telling her that she needs to take me to church because I don't have much time left. the horse was black and his face turned into my face while he was talking to my grandmother. then she sad that she felt god and he told her that if I didn't make it back to church my death would be on her head. can someone please help me with this.

    January 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  10. leo

    A man can no more diminish Gods glory by refusing to worship Him, than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word "darkness" on the walls of his cell. C. S. Lewis.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  11. leo

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what he has made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools...
    Romans 1:18-22

    I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
    2 Timothy 4:1-4

    January 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  12. Dr. O

    I think in 2011 a sign will appear to shake the foundation of our beliefs. Then a leader will emerge from the Gnostic faith to guide the world to a new found peace. This person shall be trained in traditional math and science yet will teach salvation is available to each from within. As masses of people embrace the "God of Silence" it will become apparent that war and the military are no longer required. The world will shift from old politics to being good neighbors and true stewards of the Earth.

    January 14, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  13. Ron

    Scary ........prediction # 11 is being prepared by a large group of real Americans .......available soon

    January 13, 2011 at 2:33 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.