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Posts Made By: Steve Hollenbach

February 24, 2010 10:24 AM Forum: Religion

Theological Definitions

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

The debate and our dissagreements often turn into small battles. However one theme comes up nearly every time. That is "How do you define this or that?"

So...I picked out a few choice words and lent my spin to them for your consideration. I think it would be best to maintain the original and just write in any opposing or additional remarks. If you'd like to add a word and how you define it that would be great food for thought for the rest of us.

It would be interesting to see where we agree and where we depart on simple definitions.

I wrote these from a secular standpoint to maintain a little distance, but my own beliefs might be showing. I tried to stay away from the Webster's version and stick to what I remember or imagine these to be. Dive right in...

Theological Definitions...

God: A supreme-being or entity having exclusive and infinite knowledge and power. Generally considered to be a divine or supernatural creator.

Religion: An organization or group claiming a collective belief in a theological ideology.

Dogma: An established or identified record of rules, laws, customs or history adopted by a religious group or an individual.

Truth: Descriptions of factual events as they occurred as near to absolute fact as possible and without embellishment. “Generally Accepted Truth” can be facts that are indisputable until a better explanation is discovered. However this commonly held definition lacks absolute factuality. “Truth” can be by overwhelming evidence, or if undiscovered, facts that are not yet known, but that are sought after.

Belief: Trust in the truth of an idea, ideology, ability, fact or artifact, with or without supporting evidence, but with some explanation. (Usually an individual activity)

Faith: Trust in the truth of an idea, ideology, ability, fact or artifact, usually without supporting evidence, and not necessarily requiring explanation.

Conscience: That part of an individual personality or thought process that questions one own thoughts words and deeds.

Soul: A unique individual personality associated with one person (or possibly an animal). This is typically both identity and history of a person, their memories and methods of thinking and behaving. Said to be what is judged.

That's about it for now.
Add some more.

March 5, 2010 11:45 AM Forum: Religion

Time for a poem

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,

If you've seen my "Think therefore I Am" piece in the articles, this will make sense. It's a poem of all things. Well why not? I've written all other manner of strangeness. Actually I like how it turned out.

I am the land
The place where you live
Providing all you may have -
In proportion to your efforts
From me you may learn -
… of work, pain and pleasure
And with great effort… abundance

I am the sea
In perpetual motion
Prone to rage
Yet for the moment at peace
Upon my shores you will stand at the threshold of change
From my clouds the sky and land will have water
From my rivers drink deep this life I yield

I am the sky
The boundless blue
Just above you and in all directions
Float lightly through my expanse
Do so with awe, with respect
You would not survive my anger
Hold fast…and feel my wind embrace you

I am the sun
Bright and burning
Feel my life upon your skin and in the beat of your heart
I bristle with power beyond your imagination
Yet … greet you in the morning
And bid you fond farewell in the evening
Bask in my glory

I am the moon
At home in the darkness
Alone, old and gray
Survivor of cataclysm
In silence I sleep
Rest beneath my cool glow
And dream

I am the distant stars
Bright yet hard to see
Scattered on a scale of enormity
I invite you to pause and consider
Beauty in the simplest of things
I dance upon your heartstrings
And float in the sea of eternity

I am the particle
The smallest imaginable
Not even a chip of a fragment of a grain
Energetic but not even a mumble
Impossible to see
Yet the whole world is made of me
As are you

I am the time that passes
Ageless yet the measure of an age
For all things in a state of change
Past, present and future are mine
I mark the pace
And measure the span of lives
Revel in your time

I am the people around you
Some caring, some indifferent
Individuals, yet a group
Searching for fortune or destiny
Seeking you out
To learn with
And share this life

I am the universe that surrounds you
From infinitesimal to intergalactic
Fluxuating ad infinitum
With power incalculable
Presented to you so personally
With warm sunlight upon green fields -
Providing in abundance… all that is known

A man upon the earth …I am
Beneath the sun and the sky
What I experience is through this body
What I think or feel, through this mind
I battle only the tempest within me
Often lost, I seek something beyond myself
Searching in vain as many do, for a golden age

We are…a part of each other
Work hard with honesty
Learn with diligence
Dream without limit
Share without measure
Seek with curiosity, and in time find…
…that gold is nothing… but the dust beneath you


April 2, 2010 07:14 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Flimsy hand held controller

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
I just got a Losmandy G11, what a nice mount! This one has the digital (492) drive system. The computer is in a milled out anodized aluminum case; practically mil-spec. Why then should the handheld controller feel like a kids toy by comparison?

I knew about the counterweights in advance, and will replace them with more worthy components, but the controller? The one thing we most often have in hand. This was dissapointing.

The electronic components inside are just fine. Having once been a Quality Contol Inspector for a well known manufactuer, I can tell you the circuit board and components are top notch and well built. But they put that in a really dumb plastic box with a flat ribbon cord instead of a coiled cord. Even the coiled cords used to connect the other components are not top shelf items.

Obviously my work is cut out for me. Does anyone know of a good replacement? If not I'll make one.

April 9, 2010 11:41 AM Forum: Religion

Proof at last!

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,

OK, We pretty much have some evidence by way of this forum that each of us has a slightly or very different viewpoint. I've seen in recent responses that "Proof" is demanded, often from people who offer nothing more than a story to begin with. This brought up some interesting banter.

First, there are various levels of proof. Having a tangible artifact that can be tested without any factor of doubt to a known person in Biblical times simply isn't an option.

For centuries it had been said the shroud of Turin was the actual burial shroud of Jesus of Nazereth, and bore his exact likeness.

Modern methods now date from the 1400's and to be made from a real human body of a man 6'4" tall. Romans were generally short, as were Bedoans and Judeans of the first century. So a man well over 6 feet tall would not only have been notably tall, he would have been considered a giant.

Forgive my ignorance, but I do not remember anything in scripture regarding his physical stature. If he were in fact 6'4" tall it would have been more than simply worth mentioning it would have been a huge selling point that he was a descendent of God.

The sad fact is we only have a book, yes it's called the Bible, but it is a limited source of information on the subject. The books and stories in contains are all from information nearly over 300 years old when it was commissioned. The purpose was to settle religious riots in Rome and combine the mult-theistic with the Mono-theistic.

Books by Phillip and Thomas were left out and are preserved in the Vatican Library. They portray Jesus to be simply a man. Letters written by Mary Magdeline (yes a woman who could read and write in the first century, there's your miracle) found in the Egyptian scrolls were mostly diplomatic in nature attempting to regroup the arguing apostles after several breakups. So even they could not agree.

There were no indesputable facts then, and it would be silly to argue there could be now. What we do have proof of is nobody agreed then and not much has changed.

If you want proof of something that occurred 2000 years ago, it simple does not exist. Some of the stories are good. Oh, did I leave something out?!

April 22, 2010 02:20 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Pemtax 6.5 to 19.5 Zoom

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Anyone have experience with the Pentax 6.5mm to 19.5mm Zoom?

I'm looking for a high quality EP for star parties & public outreach to save change out time, and still offer the public a great view. The scope is a 10 inch f-10 Maksutov (2540mm focal length). I'm not hung up on TFOV for planetary use, so will keep my Takahashi 10mm & 7.5mm LE at the ready.

I had a Vixen zoom two years ago and it was good, just not great. Baader also makes a zoom with good reviews. Still, the Pentax might be the ticket. So, anyone with first hand experience...what did you think of it?


April 22, 2010 04:46 PM Forum: Religion

Take a break!

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I'll be out for a week, and judging by the recent threads I might not miss much! Hahhh...

For all the right thinking people of this country who are sick and tired of being told they are fed up with the wrong thinking people... I for one am certainly not, but I'm sick and tired of being told that I am.

So... all you political, misfit, religious zealot, lost-in-the-flood, logical, illogical, born again, Spinosian, Roman-Bhudist, born right the first time, found agains,...

Don't forget to say your prayers, or at least acknowledge the lack of logic there in. I'll pray you all get a Klondike Bar. Now reach into your pockets and see if there's $6.49. If so, my prayers are answered, just pay the kid at the counter!

Much more silliness to follow. I wish you all well, and will return shortly.


May 20, 2010 06:14 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Progress in Apache Junction

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hey Andy,
I've got some help lining up for Sunday afternoon. I'm hoping to place the dome on top at about 1:00 PM. Any chance you and your son might be able to help?


June 3, 2010 11:57 AM Forum: Religion

Alternate life forms

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
If we look at mankind as a collection of billions of individuals, we may see traits common to that collective population which are not necessarily common to individuals.

Yes, "Group Hysteria" is an example.

As the crowd an individual is exposed to changes the behavior of that individual is altered to suit whatever image they wish to display. Politicians are good at this.

OK, let's take a step the other way. Can this collective population be equated to the billions of cells in a body, and therefore make up a type of life form? Can it then alter its collective behavior to suit an individual?

Cities display most of the traits of a multi-celled organism. Just wondering if anyone else would see mankind as a collective life form.

June 4, 2010 10:17 AM Forum: After Dark

The Voyager spacecraft

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

33 years is a long time even for a $400 million machine. Considering the odds of impacts from dust particles, the occasional atom and their distance form the sun, these two spacecraft have dome an incredible job. Thank you all at JPL!

Some people may think we spent too much just for a little information. We spend thousands of times that much on war.

We are, after all, the United States of America, and should spend money on serious research. If we advance the leading edge of mankind's knowledge, the trailing edge will follow.

That's my moment on the soap box.
Thanks, 8)

June 12, 2010 02:00 PM Forum: Religion

Re: BPOTW (Bible Passage of the Week)

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Scott Satko said:

Scott Satko said:

Ephesians 4:17-32 (NIV):

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Wow, I come back 3 days later and see that this passage has really raised the hackles of quite a number of you. Why don't we focus on just the last two paragraphs. Rather than post a meaningless statement of how offensive all this is, what a bigot Paul was, how uneducated Paul was compared to you, etc., tell me specifically what parts of the last two paragraphs you disagree with:

- putting off falsehood?
- speaking truthfully to one's neighbor?
- not sinning in one's anger?
- not letting the sun go down on your anger?
- not stealing, but working instead?
- sharing with those in need?
- not letting unwholesome talk leave your mouth?
- building up others with your words?
- getting rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice?
- being kind and compassionate to one another?
- forgiving each other?

It would be really interesting to see which of these ideas you think are bad things.

Hi Scott,
In my reply to doug, and it sounds like you have had a look, I didn't dissagree with any of the moral points that Paul was making. My point was they were all clouded by his insistance on colorful prose, which would certainly have put off many potential converts.