Weekly religion news with items on “The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation," a study about America's "special role" from God, Desmond Tutu and more.

At more than 78 million strong, the Millennials — those born between 1980 and 2000 — have surpassed the Boomers as the largest and most influential generation in America. Millennials are shaping the first half of the 21st century of American culture, and their attitudes and preferences influence businesses, family life, the workplace, schools, churches and more.


Now, as Millennials begin to reach adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape, research author Dr. Thom Rainer (“Simple Church”) and his son Jess, born in 1985, present the most comprehensive research project on this generation from a Christian, worldview perspective in their book, “The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation.”


Research began for this project in June 2009, and it is based on 1,200 interviews with its namesakes that aim to better understand them personally, professionally and spiritually. Chapters report how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closer knit than previous generations), their desire for diversity (consider the wave of mixed race and ethnic adoptions) and their attitude toward money, the media and, perhaps most tellingly, religion.


Although this is a generation that refuses to be stereotyped, the Rainers learned fascinating truths. Focusing research on older Millennials born between 1980 and 1991, here are some of their discoveries:




Millennials and religion: They are the least religious generation in American history, though Millennials still say they are "spiritual." Only 13 percent of Millennials considered any type of spirituality to be important in their lives. In fact, most Millennials don't think about religion at all.

Millennials and marriage: They are marrying much later, if at all. In 1970, during the Boomer generation, about 44 percent of those between 18 and 25 were married. Today, only 15 percent of Millennials in that age group are married.

Millennials and the workplace: Although 84 percent say job success is important to them, they are not workaholics. They want to have fun with their co-workers on the job, and they see the need for balance between work and life.

Millennials and the government: Although this generation distrusts politicians, they are motivated by a strong, centralized federal government. They expect the federal government to be a solution to many social problems, such as universal health care and retirement.

-- ReligionNews.com


Week in Religion


- Jan. 4, 1863, the New Apostolic Church, a Christian and chiliasticchurch, is established in Hamburg, Germany.


- Jan. 5, 1976, 10 Protestant civilians are shot deadby a paramilitary group at in Northern Ireland.


- Jan. 6, 1494, the first Mass in the New Worldis celebrated at La Isabela, Hispaniola.


Survey Says


A majority (58 percent) of Americans believe God has granted America a special role in human history. Tea party members (76 percent) and Republicans (75 percent) are more likely to believe this than independents (54 percent) and Democrats (49 percent).


-- PublicReligion.org


Good Book?


“Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God” by Greg Graffin and Steve Olson.


Most people know Greg Graffin as the lead singer of the punk band Bad Religion, but he also received a doctorate degree from Cornell University and teaches evolution at the University of California at Los Angeles.


In this provocative and personal book, Graffin describes his own coming of age as an artist and the formation of his naturalist worldview on questions involving God, science and human existence. This book provides fresh and nuanced insights into the long-standing debate about atheism and the human condition. It is a book for anyone who has ever wondered if God really exists.


-- HarperCollins Publishers


Get to Know …


Desmond Tutu (born 1931) is a South African activist who has won the Noble Peace Prize. He became the first black Bishop of Johannesburg and Archbishop of Cape Town. He is most known for his work to solve the issue of apartheid during the '80s. He also has organized campaigns to fight AIDS, poverty and racism.


-- TheFamousPeople.com


The Word


Nabi or Navi: Jewish and Muslim term for prophet.


-- religioustolerance.org


Religion Around the World


Religious makeup of Ecuador


Roman Catholic: 9.5 percent


Other: 5 percent


- CIA Factbook


GateHouse News Service