The world of media is steadily, resolutely changing. Without the few gatekeepers that used to filter and funnel news and views, the Walter Cronkites and Life Magazines of the past, people are increasingly becoming niche consumers.
One person watches Fox News and reads National Review while another watches MSNBC and listens to NPR. They don’t hear the same stories, they don’t watch the same movies, they live worlds apart.
How are we to find common ground, something on which to base the American experience?
Against this tide, Patheos has staked a lofty and challenging bulkhead.
In the contentious area of faith and religion, Patheos will give everyone a seat at the table. Everyone will speak their minds, everyone will be free to respond.
It’s the marketplace of ideas.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work so well. People are passionate and passion can lead to arrogance. Plus people who interact online tend to be less kind than they might be in real life.
It’s hard work, but it’s work worth doing. It exasperates us, confuses us, baffles us, in the practical execution. In the light of tightening culture, where a CEO can be fired for a political donation, this kind of give and take is more important than ever.
Only when your speech is protected is mine free. Only when you are free to protest, to argue, to disagree, to refuse my point, does my argument have value. There can be no coercion in the marketplace of ideas.
I may not agree, indeed I may passionately disagree, with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it.
I will respect you as a human being, as an American, as someone I believe made in God’s image.
Because as long as we can metaphorically sit down at the same table, there is hope for us all.
This is the vision I see in Patheos and I’m excited we’ve made it this far. Five years is an accomplishment for such a countercultural idea. Here’s to another 50!