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Mormon Times - Launch of Mormon Gateway

June 09, 2009

Bloggernacle Back Bench: Patheos.com, He Said/She Said

By Emily W. Jensen

Published: 2009-06-09 00:26:29

A month ago, Time magazine featured a new Web site claiming to answer the question of "What Do Other Religions Believe?" Beginning in 2008, this new Web site, Patheos.com, recently added a Mormon Gateway.Describing itself as "the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world's beliefs. Patheos is unlike any other online religious and spiritual site and is designed to serve as a resource for those looking to learn more about different belief systems, as well as participate in productive, moderated discussions on some of today's most talked about and debated topics."

Hmm. This grabbed the attention of the Bloggernacle, which first explored it with a post on the "New Mormon Gateway." And in fact, the Patheos Mormon gateway manager is former Bloggernacle regular Ben Spackman, who gave a subsequent interview concerning his role to Times and Season about this "New Religion Website." Spackman explained that he hopes the Mormon Patheos gateway "will be a mixture of Mormonism for Dummies, Gospel Doctrine class and By Common Consent... We have a lot of good resources in the pipeline, including a good verse-by-verse index to the LDS scriptures, an interactive historical timeline, interviews with LDS from around the world, teaching aids, scripture round-tables with LDS grad students, and more."

Similarly, By Common Consent interviewed Leo Brunnick, co-founder of Patheos.com. They wondered: "1. Does the world really need another religion website?" Brunnick answered that Patheos "sits in a middle ground between existing sites that are academic (balanced and rock-solid, but dry and hard to consume), or popular (interesting and exciting, but thin and gimmicky), or faith-based (passionate and knowledgeable, but narrow and biased toward one faith)." Using another description, Brunnick called Patheos.com "the ESPN of Religion."

It will be interesting to see how this develops and how Patheos.com will distinguish itself from similar sites such as Beliefnet.com and GetRelgion.org. Click if you are interested, or as Spackman explained, "we're open to ideas as well. Feel free to post comments here or email me with feedback and things you'd like to see. bspackman at patheos dot com"

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