Patricia Hofer

Consciousness and Christianity

The distinctly different voices, some uncertain, nervous almost. Others a bit arrogant or defensive or over-dramatic. The twelve spoke and Jesus’ disciples took shape in the room. The circumstances weren’t new. The doctrinal beliefs as secure and unchanged as ever. But the commemoration of the Last Supper that I attended last night also included something more—which brings to my mind Rudolf Otto.

According to Rudolf Otto, religious worship requires the “warp and woof” of two essential threads—rational and non-rational believing (xvii). In the rational approach to religion, the focus is on God’s attributes. These help us to view God “conceptually,” with doctrines that focus on His justice or goodness or spirit. …   The other essential thread of religious believing, God’s “wholly other” presence, is non-rational. From it we know that God can’t be captured or contained within attributes or doctrines or concepts. His presence with us is “purely a felt experience” (Otto 59). (from Living Large 49)

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