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. Ariel

    my prediction for 2011 is that I am becoming a hindu.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Gary

      Ariel , I predict more folks will lean towards buddism. Meditation relaxation nature physical science. ect

      January 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  2. mistamista

    Five REAL Predictions for realists in an unreal existence.

    1.) The ideologues of any and all claimed "god" will finally be shown the truth. That truth being that we are all just intellectually-based mud, no more the created of an invisible "creator" than we can claim to be of our own imagination. Those who pray will reflect on time wasted in contemplative conversations while on their knees with the monster in the clouds who will never find them worthy of his "gifts".

    2.) Science (and scientists) will lose focus on the things that are designed to "protect" us by killing others and focus on the cures to the diseases we've already created and/or been afflicted with via our ignorance of nature. Man will finally realize that the Earth is our only home and once it's gone, everything we are hopeful for will dissipate with it.

    3.) The reality that we are NOT alone in the universe will be closer to everyone's mind that ever before. We will not be invaded by beings or even visited, but we will understand that the limitations to our existence are much, much more grand than we had ever anticipated. Life, in a form we can all recognize will be found on some level and proven factually to exist elsewhere.

    4.) Time will be proven to be very much an illusion we've created to quantify and qualify our lives with. Time travel will not occur, but clear lines toward the reality of the possibility will fascinate every man, woman and child. We may actually learn that nothing is guaranteed, even after the fact.

    5.) Men all over the globe will finally realize that we DO NOT have free dominion to assert our wishes on women and children of our own, and any other race. Women will finally be given the respect they so richly deserve as the true leaders and sustenance of our kind. We will lean our place beside each other in a supportive role that nurtures the common population and creates a foundation for true progress toward oneness.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • mistamista

      Those who understand, 11:11 will become a crystal clear gathering call.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Fritzb43

      You are almost certainly correct on all counts, sir; just beware of the consequences. Most people can't handle truth, reality or success.

      January 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  3. jerimya

    I predict that crooked politicians will steal more and ignorance will spread all over the globe as moral direction declines followed by disaster & chaos!

    January 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      Hey, that isn't fair. A prediction that will come true every year. We can always depend on politicians and chaos

      January 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  4. benedictthefifteenth

    f cnn and their brainwashing propoganda

    January 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • mistamista

      YEAH! I hope the fake god of Faux News swoops in with his imaginary turd wand and makes CNN see that the level nine Zelda warrior is no match for a Warhammer Master like Faux News.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Observation

    After reading all these posts it is evident that atheists and/or agnostics are as hateful and full of venom as any of those who believe in a God. Wow, look in the mirror and realize you are part of the problem not a solution to society’s problems.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jon-Lars

      Uh, that's some hate speech right there, dude.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Zargoth

      So it is hateful to speak out against the source of hate & division...? You got something backwards there....

      January 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • NL

      So, if both sides of the debate are wholly and equally hateful, then which side of the line do you belong?

      Be rational, there are folks, many many of them perhaps, on both sides who just want acceptance, or couldn't care less what anybody else things of their beliefs. Open discussion, acceptance and cooperation are desirable goals for 2011. Let's hope that this comes to pass, OK?

      January 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      Not that I wouldn't love for everyone to magically get along all of a sudden, but when someone gets pushed, they tend to push back.

      Faulting the people who are trying to fight against a system that says they are "evil," going to burn for eternity because we don't agree with them, and have committed and still commit all sorts of atrocities under the guise of being holy, well, that' kinda like blaming americans for killing british soldiers during the american revolution.

      You have to realize and accept the anger on both sides before we can move forward. It's not a pretty situation and i regret where we are as mankind, but it's realistic.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • NL

      Actually, I tend to see that we atheists are actually fighting the battle against fundamentalist extremism that moderate believers really ought to be fighting, but are too afraid of being grouped with us to. If I had one wish for 2011 for this board it would be for some more moderates of all stripes to join the discussion. Speak up now, or you risk forever holding your peace.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Easterbunnyclause

      dude, you are confusing mockery with hate. Personally, I don't have time to hate you or your religion, I'm just fascinated at how many people continue to buy into the myth.

      Here's a simple question for you, if you were dying of a terminal illness and had 10 people lined up willing to donate an organ, bone marrow etc...which would save save your life, would you consider those 10 people to be a good representation of human life and society and the gene pool of the future or evil haters because they don't believe in your fairy tale?

      January 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      but in the end, reason shall prevail, and religion will be extinct

      January 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • NL

      Have you seen "The Book of Eli"?
      We are just one world-wide disaster away from loosing all rational progress and descending back into the Dark Ages, my friend.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  6. Jon-Lars

    In 2011, religion will continue to be the basis of war around the world.
    It will continue to be so, until there is no religion,

    January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  7. Calvin

    Christianophobia is alive and well in this forum. Such hate.....

    January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • metalliman98

      Well, when your unsubstantiated and completely unprovable beliefs form the basis for much of the world's misery, can you really blame people for hating you?

      Want a simple way to stop the hate? Prove it. If there were any logical, evidenced-based basis for believing what you do, the hate would stop. Until you can do this, people are going to hate you for perpetuating a myth that obstructs the quest for knowledge and causes unimaginable misery.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      Sad that you think people that disagree with you hate you.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • NL

      Criticism is not hate no matter how strongly you try to make it out to be.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Darwin

      Please describe to me an experiment that I can do in the lab that would give even the tiniest evidence that your big white guy with a beard who lives in the sky actually exists. In contrast I can give you much evidence that he is completely indifferent to prayer. Since most Christian denominations define god as someone who responds to prayers, this is indirect evidence of non-existence. For example, cancer patients and their families of all religions pray to achieve a cure to their disease. Yet cancer patients with the same diagnosed tumors and receiving the same level of care all die at the same rate, regardless of religion or denomination. What does the Bible have to say about that!

      January 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Fritzb43

      There are orders of magnitude more non-believers out here than any of you can possibly imagine. We will soon be coming for the bigots, the haters, the ignorant and the delusional.

      January 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • larryclyons

      Please describe to me an experiment that I can do in the lab that would give even the tiniest evidence that your big white guy with a beard who lives in the sky actually exists. In contrast I can give you much evidence that he is completely indifferent to prayer....

      While I agree with what you said quite wholeheartedly, I'm also reminded of what a priest did say to me once, "God answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is No."

      That said the fact is that the research is quite clear, aside from the individual, other prayer does not work. The original studies that looked at the effects of prayer were so riddled with flaws (cherry picking results, and in some cases outright fabrication of the data) that its been completely discredited. Attempts to replicate these studies have been found to be uniformly negative, when the studies were performed in a methodologically sound manner.

      January 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Dung Beetle

    I predict I will smoke a fatty and praise Jah.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • LC B

      ditto dungy

      January 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  9. metalliman98

    I predict that religion will continue to obstruct the quest for knowledge in order to keep the sheep content in their belief that while this life might suck, all of their suffering will be rewarded in the next life. Though I guess this prediction doesn't really count, since it's kind of like "predicting" that the sun will come up tomorrow.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Darwin

    MY humble predictions are: 1) Jews and Muslims will continue to kill each other because of differences over their respective FANTASY GODS 2) Muslims and Hindus will continue to kill each other over their fantasy gods 3) Christians and Muslims will continue to kill each other over their fantasy beliefs and gods 4) HOWEVER, ATHEISTS will NOT spend 2011 killing each other in disputes over which fantasy god is the TRUE GOD. We'll NEVER have world peace until humans stop believing silly stuff such as an old white guy with a beard lives in the sky and watches politicians cheating on their wives.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      The truth is, Darwin, that you are here looking for something missing in your life. Everyone has the same place in their psyche, which is filled for some, with religion or some spiritual belief. It seems to me that you fill yours arguing with people that don't agree with your belief system. From an observers point of view it would appear that you are here trying to fill that void in your life or there is the possibility that you are just a jerk that likes to p- people off.

      I am old and have been through the struggle between belief, faith, proof and scientific evidence so I have found the answers for me. The only time I have problems today is when others think they have answers for me. It seems to me that you are in the same position as the churches. You think the answer for me is to not believe, the churches seem to think the answer is to believe.

      You will eventually find your own way and perhaps it will be here with folks that are interested in spiritual things.

      January 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  11. Kim

    I predict I will poop 365 times. ...and it will smell like religion.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • metalliman98


      January 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • LC B

      n – i – c – e one, Kim!

      January 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  12. going to Fox now

    CNN is such a bunch of Muslim loving Liberals. I followed them on twitter but I'm stopping it right now.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Your Average Atheist

      I agree. You are probably much better off with the extreme right wing crazies at Fox

      January 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      i really hope you use as many sources as possible for information, not just one.
      Sounds like you need more of a mix of sources if you think that "muslim loving" is an insult. If someone said CNN was "christian loving" would you still leave for Fox?

      It's the crazies in all the religions that cause so many problems for the rest of us. Please educate yourself to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      everyone will thank you

      January 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • LC B

      FOX??? even more of a "BOX" . . . you'll see, mighty fast . . .!!!!

      January 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  13. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    When are the "good" religious leaders going to finally speak out against all the people taking advantage of and corrupting the innocent faithful who's only real "sin" is in wanting to be loved, wanting to make sense of life and wanting to be a good person.

    I'm looking at you, evangelical crowd, with the mega ministries, telling people god needs their money. What a gig, tell people what they want to hear and how to live their life and they'll give you money, doesn't matter if what you tell them is a lie or not.

    When will the truly righteous, or as righteous as a human can get, religious folk speak out against their kin who lead the sheep astray?

    January 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Calvin

      get a life

      January 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      You must be an evangelical then? If it makes you feel any better, you can give your money to me, I'll make sure god gets it.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • LC B

      'truly righteous'? you ask . . . where?
      Not on this planet, surely – humanity manifests only 'self righteous' individuals . . . haven't you noticed yet?

      January 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Kirk

    God is doing fine, we don't need to worry about God, she predates us and will outlast our species. What we DO need to worry about is competent compassionate governance of our world, and our worldly affairs. Let's stopp shooting people we don't like and drop food bombs on them instead- and help them to produce more food and other basic need types of wealth.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      If only it were that easy Kirk.
      Doing good onto others is easy when food is plentiful and the times are good. It is another story altogether when people run out of food and someone's gonna starve to death, who will it be, will they roll over and die without a fight? How do we ensure in the future that it's not us that isn't going to starve?
      If there was a bounty to live off of in the first place, we wouldn't need to drop food in the first place.
      Life isn't fair. If people were better, we wouldn't have the corrupt and ineffective governments we have now.

      But I do like your spirit. I hope you never lose your compassion.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  15. Easterbunnyclause

    when religion started, the earth was flat, bacteria, viruses and many other commonly understood issues today were mysteries. It was easy for people to explain the unknown away as an act of God. Fortunately the human race evolves and as a result has lead to many amazing discoveries over time. Those who cling to the belief that a mythical being is responsible for everything or anything that occurs on this planet or solar system will go the way of the flat earth clan

    January 1, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • KeithTexas

      There are places where you can express your spiritual life and not be stuck in ancient history.

      January 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  16. donna auf

    Things will change. Our culture and our society are on the decline. More hate, more anger etc. Not looking good for us here
    in America.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  17. Richxx

    All this death among different religions over mythology. Now it is moslem's killing christians. For many hundreds of years it was the hebrew people killing others to take their land (2000 – 600 bce). Then the christians killing the jewish people and anyone who didn't believe as the pope said 100 – 1750 ce). christian's tend to forget the Inquisitions, all the burnings for things such as printing the bible in English instead of Latin. When will it ever end?

    January 1, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • LC B

      So sorry Richxx – – – all this will end ONLY when humanity becomes 'extinct' . . .( soon) . . . all humans in chronic pain hope for!
      All praise for the state of religious somnambulism! in the interim

      January 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  18. Always Right

    I predict that the vile invective and extremsism enaged in by both activist atheists and activist religionists will be with us for a long time.
    Most of the posts I've read are by hate filled and arrogant idiots on both sides.
    Hope you're all gone by 2012, but I predict not.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • sanjosemike

      Always right, I do not have "hate in my heart." As an atheist, I am very satisfied with my life. I do NOT hate people who are religious. However, I would be pleased if religious organizations paid their fair share of taxes, so I didn't have to pay more because they pay less than their share. You really shouldn't judge me, should you?

      January 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  19. D Steitz

    It's time for man to come of age and drop all of these silly dogmas. Religion is a cancer unto our species.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  20. sanjosemike

    I predict that Iran will obtain their first nuclear weapon, but it will take a few more years before Iran has the ability to send it someplace. (Israel). This will spark another arms race for nuclear weapons in the ME (by Arabs, to protect them against the Persian threat), and more unstable (Muslim) countries will try to obtain nuclear weapons. As this process continues, the chance of survival of human species on earth will lessen, because it is the RULE of Islam that requires internecine civil wars between Shi'a and Sunni, which will result in the end of mankind. sansjoemike

    January 1, 2011 at 11:47 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.