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Clay Farris Naff
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Clay Farris Naff (claynaff.com) is a science writer with a special interest in the rational reconciliation of religions with science. An award-winning journalist and author, he has been a Tokyo correspondent for United Press International, a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, a science-and-religion columnist for the Metanexus Institute, and is the author or editor of numerous books, including most recently Free God Now! He has been a freelance writer for Newsweek, Earth Magazine, The Humanist, and Scientific American, among other publications. You can follow him at Twitter @claynaff, or join his Free God Now! page on Google+.or Facebook. Any opinions expressed are his alone.

Entries by Clay Farris Naff

Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Putin, Religion and the Second Coming of Fascism

(36) Comments | Posted April 5, 2014 | 3:16 PM

Comparison with Nazis is so overdone that there's even a name for it: Godwin's Law. Still, the parallels with Putin's Russia right now are so very tempting: after the collapse of its empire a fumbling, nascent democracy creates an opening for a ruthless strongman who stokes the nation's wounded pride...

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Guns and Jesus (Not to Mention Mohammed)

(2) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 8:49 AM

Grace Baptist Church in upstate New York, following the lead of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, is giving away an AR-15 assault rifle -- you know, the kind that killed kids at Sandy Hook Elementary.
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Is That the Best You've Got? Alvin Plantinga's Feeble Attack on Atheism

(34) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 6:16 PM

Widely regarded as America's leading Christian philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, emeritus professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, offers what are presumably his best arguments against atheism and in favor of Christian belief in a lengthy New York Times "Opinionator" interview published earlier this week. Its headline: "Is Atheism Irrational?"

...
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Justice on Trial: Another Minister Breaks Church Law to Perform Gay Marriage

(5) Comments | Posted January 26, 2014 | 6:42 AM

"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Thomas Ogletree performed a marriage ceremony for his own son. For that, he will stand trial in March before an ecclesiastical court of the United Methodist Church. You see, his son is gay. Ogletree officiated...

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Indiana GOP: While Banning Gay Relationships, Why Not Enact White Supremacy, Too?

(628) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 7:24 AM

Indiana already has a law banning gay marriage, complete with criminal penalties for pastors who perform same-sex rites, but that's not good enough for state Republicans. Prodded by right-wing religious groups such as the good Christian folks at the Indiana Family Institute, GOP legislators voted overwhelmingly...

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Let's Move Christmas to February!

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 9:17 AM

2013-12-19-WOC2.jpg

Though "Culture Wars" may rage over Christmas, the holiday brings a rare point of consensus among secular scholars and devout theologians: It ain't the birthday of Jesus, bub.

So little is known about the actual life of Jesus that the starting odds...

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God's Coming Phase Change: Can the Rising Generation Get Religion Right?

(115) Comments | Posted November 10, 2013 | 9:14 AM

Monotheism in the West has undergone two major adaptive changes in the past 2,500 years. A third great leap is nigh. Can it succeed? Whether you are religious or not, you'd better hope so.

Like life itself, religion has repeatedly met the challenge of extinction with a phase change --...

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In Praise of Commonsense Conservatives: A Humane and Rational Way to End the Standoff

(3) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 10:47 AM

Help! I'm a bicoastal liberal "trapped" in a Midwestern state so Republican that its unofficial slogan is "Go Big Red."

Actually, I love living in Nebraska, for many reasons but largely because it gives me the chance to work for progressive change among people I know to be essentially...

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Say What? If Miss America Is Not a Nice White, Christian Gal, She Must Be a Muslim Terrorist? Even My Dog Knows Better!

(30) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 8:12 AM

Never thought I'd find myself commenting on the Miss America Pageant, but the insane eruption of hate that followed the crowning of Nina Davuluri forces my hand.

Ms. Davuluri was born and raised American. That ought to be enough, but since she was born to Indian immigrant parents, has...

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Syria: The Error of Religious Pacifism and the Science of Peace

(8) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 10:52 AM

As someone who works with refugees, I hate war. As someone who lives in America's happiest city, I treasure peace. Yet, for all that, I am distressed to see the groundswell of opposition to punishing the Syrian regime.

We blundered into Iraq buoyed by Neocon delusions that "shock and awe"...

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My Fantasy Summer Bible Camp

(7) Comments | Posted August 18, 2013 | 10:24 AM

Even unto the dog days of summer, kids across North America are trundled off to Bible Camp. Here in Nebraska, school start blessedly early, so Camp Marantha is done stuffing kids full of fundamentalist nightmares ("We believe that the world is fast ripening for the tribulation judgments" its web site...

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Egypt's Hard Lesson: Old Time Religion Cannot Lead a Modern Democracy

(18) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 3:00 PM

"Democracy is not for Muslims."

That's the epitaph for Egypt's only free election, according to deposed President Mohammed Morsi's foreign policy adviser.

The lesson appears to have gone home. Amid cries of "No more elections!" the Muslim Brotherhood has angrily rejected a plan for political transition and called...

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DOMA Decision Spells Doom for Old Time Religion

(248) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 12:06 PM

Defenders of Old Time Religion, take heed. Justice Antonin Scalia gives you fair warning. In a DOMA dissent steeped in wormwood and gall, he makes this prediction:

As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening...
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Jason Collins, Bible Verses and the Truth About God's Word

(112) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 10:56 AM

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Much has been written and said about Jason Collins' historic announcement, but it seems to me we have not yet reached the deepest implications. As a sympathetic outsider to religion, I'd like to try.

Put simply, it's this:...

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Jihad, Crusade and Our Marathon Race Against the Neuron Bomb

(24) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 12:17 PM

I hate to break ranks with my liberal brethren, but there is a clear pattern in the mass killings that this country has suffered over the past 10 years. If, as the evidence strongly indicates, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took part in the mayhem in Boston, then that pattern extends right up...

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Humanism's Moment of Opportunity, Going to Waste

(499) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 9:56 AM

At a time when mainline churches and other mainstream religions such as Reform Judaism are struggling with dwindling membership, some religious brands continue to flourish. In particular, those that have taken the secular science of marketing as an article of faith have done spectacularly well. Megachurches,...

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In Resigning, Pope Benedict XVI Finds His Finest Hour

(14) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 9:15 AM

Benedict XVI. As with the Thane of Cawdor, nothing in his reign became him like the leaving it.

Hardly had the Pope announced his impending retirement than the news media, so savage toward politicians and princesses, began to genuflect before this monarch of the Mother Church. Many gushed...

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The Top 5 Reasons You Aren't Going to Heaven But Shouldn't Lose Hope

(184) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 8:29 AM

Oh, what a heavenly year was 2012. I don't mean to say that it was especially pleasant, ending as it did in a series of gruesome massacres and a tiresome political quadrille over taxes. Yet, late in the year "heaven" rose by 29 percent on Google Trends to a five-year...

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The One Place God Can Be Found for Sure, If Only We Look

(16) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 9:21 AM

The heartless massacre in Newtown has many believers crying in agony, "God, where were you?" That in turn has prompted many nonbelievers to growl, "Nowhere!" And so, the ancient arguments over the Problem of Evil sputter to life and spin once again.

Thanks to the advance of knowledge and compassion,...

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To Protect Religious Freedom, the Supreme Court Should Abolish Marriage As We Know It

(464) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 12:47 PM

Since last week, when the Supreme Court accepted two crucial cases on gay marriage, speculation has run through the chattersphere like wildfire. The Court will let voters decide. The Court will let the states decide. The Court will reach a split decision. The Court will strike down discrimination across the...

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