Once upon a time, I thought Beliefnet would be a revolutionary presence on the web: a forum where real and meaningful interfaith dialogue would occur. Alas, it’s more or less turned into a spiritual lifestyle website, which I’m sure has its uses but to my mind represents a certain measure of unfulfilled potential. But the dream of a truly substantive interreligious forum on the Internet is not dead.
Later this year the Patheos website will be launched. Based on their introductory video, it looks like Patheos will be a truly exciting place to hang out: part interfaith social networking, part Library of Alexandria. I will certainly be involved with Patheos, and I suspect once you watch this video, you’ll want to be too…
Here’s what the Patheos home page says:
Patheos will offer:
- Library and Lenses: We have 100 religious traditions in our on-line library of information, written and organized in a way that makes the information consumable. And a unique series of “lenses” to view this complex world of information in a way that is compelling and intuitive.
- Gateways: We present all of this uniquely constructed content in a set of portals where visitors can explore the views, interpretations, guidance, and materials of the major belief traditions. The Gateways provide opportunities for intra-faith dialogue, and are places where the members of the community can exchange information and experiences with like-minded spiritual travelers.
- Public Square: The Public Square offers real topics that impact real people in their day-to-day lives – from the perspectives of some of today’s most respected thought leaders across every faith tradition.
- A Unique Experience: Visitors seeking inspiration will find pictures, stories, and music from across the world of spirituality. Interactive videos let users see churches, mosques, temples — and understand the services that go on there. A comprehensive on-line directory serves as a resource for those looking to gather at places of worship, as well as popular destinations for spiritual travel and religious retreats. Opportunities exist for visitors to become involved, both online and off, with personally compelling causes.
I’ll see you there!