Put simply, it’s a newfangled word that describes following the “path” to “theos” — the path to God.
That and other intriguing nuggets can be found in this magazine piece that takes a look at how this website got started, and what it aims to do.
[Founder Leo] Brunnick wanted to create a place where people could go to find answers for their faith-based questions: “Does God exist?,” “What are the origins of Islam?,” “What language did Jesus speak?” — one of the queries most often posted on Patheos. The Internet makes it easy to search for answers and avoid awkward face-to-face discussions that could come off as ignorant or offensive, Brunnick explains. Besides, many people don’t know anyone who is Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu to ask those questions of.
Unlike most websites devoted to religion, Patheos would present information on all the world’s major religions — and do so fairly and accurately. The goal was to create a site that “hosts the whole conversation,” Brunnick says. A site where people could discuss their ideas about faith — and while they might not come to an agreement, they should be able to reach an understanding. “We want to be educational without being too complicated. To educate without being reductionist,” he explains. “But the world is a pretty complicated place.”