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. Riegan

    I was pleasantly surprised to see a Pagan opinion shared. This world is going in the right direction.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  2. TJ

    Faith and religion is a part of civilization. That is reality. If you do not like this reality, perhaps you can use your freedom to find another resource. Maybe you need to experince life in your own way and if you experience something profound, then please share it. Otherwise, maybe you can find another place to share your reality which seems to be complaining.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  3. TJ

    My comment which speakls against why government regulation is a must is under review. In that comment I talk about the first amendment. How ironic that CNN does not seem to really care much about that amendment.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      I wonder how long CNN will take to review your comment? An hour? A day? Maybe.. longer? I suggest you keep checking back hourly to see if they've lifted their review.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  4. Greg

    CNN should be ashamed for the pandering it does to the religious community. "Belief blog"? Seriously? Why not a "Reality blog" for the rest of us?!

    January 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  5. TJ

    Christ was a servant leader. This world's leaders could benefit greatly from his example.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  6. foodhistorian

    If the predicted massive Solar Flare occurs as NASA predicts sometime in 2011, religion may be the only comfort left, because every electrical grid on earth will be fried, no internet, no cable and no TV: It would take 4 to 5 years for industrialized countries to restore electric power, 10 years or more for third world countries. My advice? Buy a woodstove, plant a veggie garden and get to know your Amish neighbors....just in case.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm |

      If the Solar Flare does occur, wouldn't it come down from the hand of god onto his people? But then the people will re-evolve!

      January 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  7. – Gilsevi Matyeya Worthington, Founder and CEO President of Interboolshlitzery of Hicksville USA

    I predict that the Christian hold on politics in the USA will slowly lose its grip, its influence and its power on the political system, thus causing more diplomatic resolutions to conflicts instead of belligerent, GOD Bless American type WAR based solutions.

    I also predict, that Christians will become even more radical as they SEE and FEEL that loss of power on the political and continue to push their ancient backward fairy tales as the rest of the world advances, moves on and starts accepting a more science and intelligent way of advancing the world for the positive.

    Aaand... I also predict that the part of the USA's decline as being a super power has a lot to do with the ball and chain of religion and will start to set aside religion and God as the for decisions that will carry it back to a more prosperous country... under Nature.

    My last prediction? That we ALL would stop predicting because NO BODY, NO WHERE ON EARTH or HISTORY has, CAN PREDICT ANYTHING at any time.

    The supposed power of "predicting" is nothing but fantasy and supernatural fabrication made by wacko people.

    Anyone, especially all these frauds in this 11 faith based predictions for 2011, expose their fraudulent and wacko ways just by merely "predicting" things.

    Again, no human being, EVER, not before or NOW, has the supernatural power to predict anything.

    "Well, whatabout you theres buddy? Yurr pridictin'?" Well, partna... I'm wrapping up my serious OBSERVATIONS in satirical jest to point out what the direction of a more, hopefully, educated populace may be headed, based on my observations of social trends. I cannot predict anything.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  8. Jim K

    Although the many predictions I've seen here appear grandiloquently optimistic, I prefer a reality based approach, stemming from three things: 1) past history 2) currant trends 3) the "new" feeling groups display in our time. Together, the world cultures don't display enough "brotherly love" to predict any sort of 'positive' turn of events in the upcoming year.
    The Al Qaeda based radicals will continue their feeble attempts to damage Western Culture, while the US led war effort drives them to the brink of total elimination in and around the Afghanistan/Pakistani region. Sleeper cells awaken to 99% destruction due to the scope of Western Security measures, but... (unfortunately) the 1% that "slipped through the gate" have success. I can't help but feel we are overdue for a more severely catastrophic event taking shape from the new and awakening sleeper cells in Europe and the US. Like the old saying goes, "If you throw enough crap against the wall, sooner or later some of it has got to stick". May the Good Lord keep our casualties at a minimum, and my thoughts be only paranoid delusion, brought on by fear of what could have been in so many of the interceptions of mass destruction.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    My bold prediction is that in 2011, people will continue posting idiotic comments on CNN.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  10. TJ

    Predictions 10 and 11 are absolutely hilarious.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  11. TJ

    Is that why there are so many followed of Epicurus walking around???

    He basically took a stance on standing for nothing. In standing for nothing, then what purpose do you or did Epicurus serve on this earth??

    January 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • larryclyons

      Is that why there are so many followed of Epicurus walking around???

      He basically took a stance on standing for nothing. In standing for nothing, then what purpose do you or did Epicurus serve on this earth??

      Epicurus is one of the foundational elements of philosophy. As for followers, how about most of the Enlightenment, including Jefferson, Franklin, Adams etc. Schopenhauer, Hume and other philosophers are direct intellectual descendants of him. In fact its not all that difficult to conceive if it were not for Epicurus there would have been no Enlightenment or our modern conceptions of equality.

      As for followers, actually there are quite a few. Maybe you ought to read his philosophy. Because there is no longer a cult following does not mean his ideas are not important.

      In fact your argument is sort of like flies and dung. Given the number of flies that eat dung, does that mean we should do it. Your popularity argument simply does not hold any water. Its an argument from ignorance.

      January 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  12. TJ

    How much wisdom do 17 year olds have?
    Do you think God would be OK with the message of "need to be punched in the face"?
    These answers are self-evident.

    God has given man a way to live in the Bible. Man and Satan have worked in concert to pervert God's will. Having said that, I can understand the argument against an organized religion with some crazy hierarchy within that religion. There is only one higher power and that is God. Man cannot judge or condemn his fellow man. That is not up to us. We are all sinners, and that is a fact. God loves us and knows that through or free will that we will sin and do wrong. For that reason, Christ was sent to pay the penalty for all of mankind's wrongdoing. There are many deviations of that truth and that is where man is led astray and that breaks God's heart.

    January 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Feel Free to vote:
    Who has seen into other universes? Who has gained more facts about not just our planet, but all the others in various solar systems? Who can prove that the Big Bang IS what started space, and eventually life? It comes down to Facts vs story telling. NASA over Religion.
    My Vote: NASA
    I used to believe in Religion until I saw the movie The Ten Comandments. Then I saw hundreds of inocent people killed in the name of religion for not having faith in what someone else believed in. Today, I don not believe and I do not have faith. But more importanly, if you don't agree with me, I won't kill you over it.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  14. TJ

    Greg M. Epstein's statement is quite moronic too. Secualrism is the issue we have today. No one feels we need to be held to a higher standard. If that continues and this humanist movement continues, everything is relative and there is no right and wrong.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  15. donna auf

    If all muslims are not terrorists should we not explore the possibility that not all christians are hate-ist persons

    January 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  16. Smokey

    I predict that the world will come to regret pushing matters of faith and religion out of the public square. Y'all need to realize that secularism is not a neutral perspective which mediates evenhandedly between religious differences, it is its own worldview and western governments are dangerously close to making secularism the established belief system of our society. A Godless society is a failed society and we are nearing that tipping point. People of faith are beginning to realize that in the west, it is not other religions that are a threat to our freedom of belief. We are all equally under attack from a rising tide of secularism that is monopolizing public discourse and pushing religion out. That has to change, and I believe that it will.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  17. Robert

    Interesting to watch movies from the 60's ,80's and 2000 last night . No one needs a crystal ball to see that the Social conditions of the Global Community is swiftly deteriorating. Family Values , , politics , and religion are at all time lows. Money Rules , the haves and the have not have a wide valley between them . Don't believe that " Religion" is the Way of Faith , wrong , it is One's sense of the Spirit that is our True Teacher. Labels and Rituals are simply that , blind dead ends .An open Heart , and an intuitive sense of the Spirit are the Way out of the Darkness , and into the Light of Knowing .

    January 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  18. TJ

    No one is assuming that all Muslims are terrorists. That is a foolish and childish statement. I am confused on why Christianity is confused to be bigotry as well. Christ taught, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we should help our neighbor even if thay are different than us and even if they are considered our enemy. The interesting topic for debate is that Islam does not teach its believers to treat those of different faiths and walks of life with love and respect.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guess due islamphobia and wars hard to get what you are lookinging for as fear and love does not mix together...!

      January 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  19. donna auf

    How bazzare to watch all this unfold from this a.m. Makes me sad for all of us.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • larryclyons

      First off Donna, learn to spell.

      Secondly I'll show a lot more tolerance for your religion when your sort shows tolerance for my lack of a religion. In the name of your religion millions have been killed and tortured. Your Christianity has a lot to answer for.

      January 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  20. TJ

    Joel Hunter's assertion # 1 is a politically correct statement that says that this issue will stay on a treadmill. That is by no means a prediction.

    January 1, 2011 at 4:48 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.