Rationalism In Rudolf Otto's The Idea Of The Holy

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The human mind’s ability and innate desire to justify and explain the world and its phenomena has led to some of the most significant and world-altering discoveries and inventions, illustrated throughout the renaissance, enlightenment, scientific revolution, and industrial revolution. Logical pursuits comprise a significant capstone of human nature and progress. However, according to Rudolf Otto in The Idea of the Holy, these tendencies have created different dimensions of religion; the rational and non-rational, with the latter often times overlooked. The most significant difference between the rational and non-rational aspects of religion deal with their respective emphasis on reason and feeling. Rudolph Otto prioritizes the non-rational as offering a truer understanding of religion because he claims the core of all religious life revolves around experiences and feeling, not simply rational thought. Overall, the rational is but an attempt to define the undefinable. To understand Otto’s rejection of the rational, the rational must be understood. “Rational,” in The Idea of the Holy, refers to the conceptualization of religion and the divine itself. Otto’s basic definition of the rational stems from the establishment and application of concepts evidenced in “they can be grasped by the intellect; they can be analyzed by thought; they even admit of definition. An object that can thus be thought conceptually may be termed rational” (Otto, 1). Therefore, Otto establishes the

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