Atheists in Church: God is Watching

As my friends know, my wife Jen is a Christian and goes to church pretty regular. Check out my initial post, our Atheist-Christian marriage for some more background. Well today she invited me to church and I wanted to jot down my thoughts on part of the sermon.

Atheist in Church

I often say that we (humans) can be good for goodness’ sake when I’m discussion religion and atheism with friends. We don’t need gods to be good, moral people. If it could be proven beyond a doubt that there are no gods of any sort, I think you’d still have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. But today, Dennis said that God basically keeps a tally sheet and every time we do something good, we get a star beside our name (paraphrasing). He said, that we should never have to worry about trash in the parking lot because people would just pick it up on their own since God is keeping score. Why would a person setup and take down chairs at the TAAD center (local youth group thing) when hardly anybody was showing up? Well because he knew that God was keeping score. The impression I got from that bit of the sermon was that we should do good things because God is watching.

Does that mean that the people who think that God is keeping score would no longer pick up the trash from the parking lot or try to help teens if they no longer believed there was a God? Do they only do good things because they think God is watching?

I suspect that Dennis (the preacher) would say that no, people would still be good. If that’s the case, why do we need to invoke this idea of a cosmic score keeper to get people to do good?

Maybe he would say yes though… Christians do believe in original sin after all and that people are inherently evil.

If you’re a Christian, I’d really be interested in hearing your opinion on whether or not Christians are good because God is keeping score.

Cathy Samford Lawsuit

Cathy Samford Lawsuit
Cathy Samford was fired for being pregnant out of wedlock. Photo: WFAA

Cathy Samford was fired by Heritage Christian Academy for being pregnant while single. Ms Samford says that what Heritage has done is against the discrimination laws of our country. Heritage says being able to discriminate against Ms Samford is part of their religious freedom.

Does religious freedom shield organizations from the discrimination laws of our country? Should it?

My Cathy Samford Lawsuit Posts

Other Cathy Samford Lawsuit Sources

Concert Review: Butch Walker Nashville

Butch Walker @ 12th and Porter in Nashville

Wow. That’s how I feel after seeing Butch Walker play at 12th and Porter last night in Nashville, TN.

Jen and I have been to 12th and Porter previously so we knew the venue and knew what to expect and pretty much how it all worked. We arrived around 5:30pm and were meeting up with some of Jen’s “trainiac” friends (shout out to Angela, Chris and Beth!) who were also Butch Walker fans. They’d all 3 driven in from out of town. The doors for Butch wasn’t until 9 and so it was a bit of a long wait. Jen’s friends were already there so the time passed quickly catching up.

After finally being let into the venue, we grabbed some beers (standard concert fare) and got front row seats… btw, yes… front row seats. 12th and Porter had put two rows of chairs up near the stage. I guess it’s because of the nature of the show. It was more intimate and low key than when we went to see Oh No Fiasco! with Framing Hanley.

Striking Matches opened for Butch and played a short set. Not exactly my taste in music but they seemed to be excellent guitar players (Butch even said so during his set).  The crowd seemed to enjoy them well enough.

Butch Walker @ 12th and Porter in Nashville
Striking Matches @ 12th and Porter in Nashville

After their set, everybody eagerly awaited Butch to take the stage. You knew it was going to be a good show when the stage guy brought out a bottle of Jameson (see? ). 😉

Butch Walker @ 12th and Porter in Nashville
Butch Walker @ 12th and Porter in Nashville

I really enjoyed the whole experience but one of the song lyrics really spoke to me, Synthesizer:

For once, once in your life
Won’t you do what feels right
Instead of waiting for the next big compromise

If you know me, then you know that I’ve spent most of my adult life doing what other people want me to do and not really following my own dreams so this elicited a strong emotion for me personally; I was hooked. I’ve read his book, Drinking With Strangers and we’ve seen Butch once when he opened for Train in Knoxville a couple years ago. Even after listening to his music on Rdio/Spotify I just didn’t get the feeling of connection like I got last night. There’s just something that comes through in person that isn’t quite making it on the recorded stuff. After experiencing the show, I’m enjoying the recorded music a lot more.

Towards the end of the show, Butch invited his friend Kevn (sic) onto the stage. Turns out, Kevn is actually Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin and they performed Straight to Hell. Driving N Cryin is a band that Butch liked a lot growing up; they were having a complete bro moment. It seemed completely impromptu and was pretty great!

Butch Walker @ 12th and Porter in Nashville
Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin performing "Straight to Hell"

This is the first show that I’ve been to where things felt this intimate. It just felt real special… Butch was there just sharing his music, life experiences and emotions with us.  There was no merchant tables or anything and it just felt like it was about the music. It was just the coolest fucking concert I’ve ever been to and tickets were only $20. If you have a chance to see Butch Walker, please go see him… he’s great.


New Butch Walker Fan

PS. Unlike the last time we went to 12th and Porter, we didn’t see anybody having sex in their car in the parking lot. Bummer.


Junior Dee Harley

Junior Dee Harley
Michael Harley’s 9th birthday – August 30th 1982

This page will serve as a resource page for my dad, Junior Dee Harley. If we’re related or you knew my dad and you arrived at this page after searching for my dad, please contact me; I’d really like to meet you.

Junior Dee Harley was born Dec 18th, 1924 in Arkansas and died August 7th, 1986. He’s buried at Wahneta Cemetery (AKA Shady Grove Cemetery) in Wahneta, FL.

Resources for Junior Dee Harley

1975’ish I’d say

RE: Cathy Samford Fired For Being Unwed Mother

This came across the feed today:

Sherry said, “When she was hired she was already pregnant and she did not disclose this to us.” When asked if it was ethical for an employer to terminate an employee for an act that took place prior to signing the contract with the school, Sherry said, “That was a decision made by the administration.” The contract she signed explains “15 or 19 times about the moral conduct. If she chose not to read it, that is her problem.”

via Cathy Samford Terminated for the “Act” That Caused Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy.

Emphasis mine. I’m trying real hard to process this bit of information fairly but it would seem that the act of getting pregnant before she was even hired and before she signed a contract would fall outside the scope of her employment at the school. If they fire her for not living up to their contract prior to signing it, shouldn’t every single person at the school be fired too? Isn’t that a big part of Christianity; we’re all imperfect sinners and all that jazz?

How else can you view this other than they fired her for being an unwed mother? State and federal law is very clear: you can’t discriminant against women because of pregnancy.

You can read my initial post here, Cathy Samford Fired For Being Unwed Mother.

Bookmarks for April 18th through April 19th

These are my links for April 18th through April 19th:

  • "You have 20 seconds to comply": South Korea unleashes robot guards – In South Korea's Pohang prison, three of the guards are not like the others. They are… robots! The so-called "Robo-Guard" technology is currently being live-tested in the hopes that automation can reduce costs and help to make the prison environment safer.
  • Breivik says he trained for Norwegian massacre using Modern Warfare – Anders Behring Breivik, the 33-year-old Norwegian ultranationalist who has admitted to killing 69 people in a shooting rampage and eight more in a bomb blast last July, said during his trial today that he prepared for the attacks by playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
  • Needles and Sins Tattoo Blog | Army Tightens Rules on Tattoos – Over the weekend, the Army Times reported on potential new grooming regulations that govern tattoos as well as other appearance standards. And if soldiers don't comply, they could face some serious trouble.
  • Make your foursquare history useful with « About Foursquare –’s Foursquare Edition launched today (since it is 4sqDay and all). It pulls in your foursquare history and lets you sort through it in a number of interesting ways. You can see the conventional date view, which lets you scroll back through or jump to any date in your history to see the places you checked in. A category view shows you all the places you’ve visited in a particular category.