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. Bemused

    The narrow mindedness of the authors of this report is reflected in that they have chosen to recognize only the three abramic cults as religions and none other. Ofcourse this would be entirely appropriate if the topic were were about religious violence, friction and intolerance.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  2. Pessimist

    I predict that in 2011 the kiddies will continue to not get along!

    January 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  3. Hope 111

    To CNN
    I am very frustrated with the way you handle people's posts. You put a sign saying "Your comment is awaiting moderation", but you NEVER moderate them. You exclude many good, wholesome comments from being posted, making it hard to think that is even worth spending time trying to comment here. You really NEED TO REVISE your posting comments practices/procedures, and you need to give people ways to contact you if there is a problem. Please, look into this matter !

    January 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  4. Charles Dragonette

    I find Ralph Reed's comment interesting for what is says about missing the point. He thinks – or wnats us to think – that fundamentalist Christianist – Christianists) and the Tea Party Movement have enough in common to cement Republican Party ascendency. I doubt it very much and the Christianists are going to have enough trouble reconciling themselves to Mitt Romny if they want to win, while the Tea Party will either become the Republican Party or they won't. If you read comment 1, you'd think gay rights were all that mattered in a country spiralling down the fiscal toilet bowl – and that's not an opinion from gays who might be forgiven for thinking they are the center of the universe! Reed's Republicans are ruled by fear just like Jesse Jackson's Democrats are.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    "THE END IS ...........FAR :}"

    January 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  6. Trent

    In 2011Truth will continue to march on and nothing can stop Him.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  7. Jeffision

    Visualize a post religious era united by rationality with the goal to live in balance with the natural world for the benefit of all living beings.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

      the time you speak of allready happened in native american tribal times of old – peole did what they wanted – it was a verry day to day violent time with other tribes they tried to destroy each other alot – including raids on one onother where vilages were pillaged -you had to fight daily to not be enslaved or destroyed -and you had to fight for your right to exist against enemys or even animals you hunted to feed your familys -wake up "the eutopia yo speak of will never be there unless a people are obedient and work toigether in a moraility code framework "religion " if they have no accontability -eil and animalistic they become -this is proven throughtout histoy .history will repeat itself as self preservation and selfishness prevail -its in our natural nature as knuckle draggers :} .

      January 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • JT

      I believe John Lennon asked us to imagine something similar about 40 years ago. Here it is 2011 and we're still imprisoned in these cults and forever will until we lose the fear of death.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  8. Only Way

    God does not have a religion. Religions are created by people. True God never gave us a religion. What God gave us was His Son to die for our sins so that we can escape the punishment of our sins. This is the LOVE of God towards the mankind who is destined for punishment in hell for their sins.

    1) Jesus said: He came down from heaven (John 3:13)

    2) Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John14:6).

    3) Jesus proved His claims through His actions (Miracles, having authority over nature, power to forgive sins, raising Himself from dead, etc)

    4) Jesus had many witnesses other than Himself and His actions to prove His credibility.
    a) Old Testament Scriptures prophesied about Jesus – His birth and divinity (Isaiah 9:6. 7:14, Micah 5:2), His death for the sins of others (Isaiah 53:5,6,8) and His life on earth.
    b) Father God testified about Jesus before others in audible sound (Matthew 3:17, 17:5, 2Pe 1:17)
    c) John the Baptist
    d) Moses

    Now it is up to you to make a decision based on facts and the testimony of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

    If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9)

    Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38)

    January 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Hope 111

      Jesus said that 'whosoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.".... None of us deserves this love and this gift of grace. So it is by His goodness and mercy that He accepts us and gives us this gift of His grace. Who in their right mind would refuse such gift, but only those whose hearts grew numb, because the sin that's in them and the love of Self? But God knows what is in the heart of man....Yet, he allows each of us to choose our own way, giving us free will, dto choose or reject Him.... What an awsome responsibility we have, yet, so many squander their lives, never giving a tought!

      January 2, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  9. Sitnalta

    All these predictions made me want to gag. Especially #1.

    Here's my prediction: animosity toward atheists will rise because they will tell the religious to "shut up" and "stop hating people for stupid reasons." Then the religious will say "but God says that..." Then the atheists will repeat what they just said in a mocking voice while pumping their fist from side to side.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Truth Warrior

    It doesn't matter what is predicted, one day every knee will bow; whether you believe or not.

    January 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  11. FloridaDave

    I predict that there will be more predictions. . . .

    January 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  12. Jeff in Illinois

    I predict that large numbers of false Christians will continue to look to a political party for religious guidance rather than their bibles.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • trex

      yep, see my post below

      January 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  13. Sandra

    I predict Jesus will rapture the believers in 2011.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Raider

      If only that were true, then maybe we'd have some peace on earth.

      January 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Festivus

      ha, ha, ha... I got it! http://bit.ly/godsucks 🙂

      January 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  14. Some Guy

    @ Festivus & nepawoods: Maybe CNN stands for Censored News Network... LOL

    January 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Festivus

      Pssst... don't tell CNN! CNN = China/ese News Network!

      January 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  15. jev

    Education, education, education. The more educated we become, the less we will be religious. Unless, of course, we mix our faith with our education. Then we may as well go back to stone age.

    Some of you are already back there and some of you never left. I think that faith should be a "dont tell, don't ask" situation.

    Happy new year, may you always get what you always got, by doing what you always did.


    January 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  16. Some Guy

    Oops... the moon obviously revolves around the Earth. Didn't mean to include that one. They actually had that one right.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  17. Shea Thomas

    Kudos to CNN for getting comments from such a weighty and diverse collection of religious leaders.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  18. M

    My prediction is that all eleven of these predictions will not come true. Though we all enjoy optimism until it all comes crashing down, at the end of the year. I'll wait to see what these eleven people have to say at the end of the year about their respective predictions that they made.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  19. bmfg

    Billions of people will go on believing in the material origin of thought and language, to their eternal detriment.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Festivus

    I predict that every religious (vatican, priest, pastor, imam, rabbi, their followers) and non-religious adult beats off sometimes in 2011! Seeeeeexual dysfunction doesn't count. 🙂

    January 1, 2011 at 2:37 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.