Type of site
|Religion and Spirituality|
|Headquarters||Englewood, Colorado, U.S.|
|Founder(s)||Leo and Cathie Brunnick|
Upon its launch in May 2009, the website was primarily geared toward learning about religions through a reference library and other peer-reviewed resources on 27 global religions and worldviews. In its current form, the site also hosts more than 450 blogs in eleven "Faith Channels," offering commentary and news from these perspectives in topics including politics, institutions, culture, sacred texts, history, lifestyle, entertainment, family life, and business. Patheos is the largest English language religion and spirituality site in the world, while the Catholic, Progressive Christian, Nonreligious, and Pagan Channels constitute the largest web presence for their respective traditions.
Patheos was founded in 2008 by Leo and Cathie Brunnick, both web technology professionals and residents of Denver, Colorado. They amassed hundreds of essays and works from scholars, practitioners, and religious leaders, shaping them into a comprehensive peer-reviewed Library. As the site developed, bloggers and columnists from various traditions were added to the format.
The name Patheos is a portmanteau of “path” and “theos,” the Greek word for god.
In an early interview, Leo Brunnick described the site's intention as a middle ground between dry academic sites, "gimmicky" popular sites, and faith-based sites that are passionate and knowledgeable but biased toward a single perspective. Its Religion Library is intended for students of religion in school or home settings and includes a “Comparison Lens” feature to compare and contrast elements in different religious traditions, including the origins, development, beliefs, rituals, ethics, and community of each tradition.
Patheos hosts eleven “Faith Channels” (Nonreligious, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelical, Hindu, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Pagan, Progressive Christian, and Spirituality), providing commentary from their respective faith communities through more than 450 blogs and columns. Contributors include professors, journalists, authors, activists, and religious leaders.
There are also several topical Channels, including: Entertainment (reviews of movies, television, theater, art, and pop culture); Family (focusing on parenting, marriage, and family issues); Preachers (with sermon tips and biblical exegesis); and Faith and Work (addressing career, vocation, economics, politics, and more).
Patheos Book Club features sponsored material on new releases in religious publishing, including excerpts, book reviews, author Q&As, interviews, and roundtable discussions.
Patheos Public Square is a monthly symposium that poses a single question of timely and general interest, inviting internal and external contributors to shape responses from their own religious perspectives. Past topics have included the Future of World Religions; America and Civil Religion; Faith Communities and the Alleviation of Poverty; Political Engagement and Culture Wars; Politics in the Pulpit; Abortion; and Religion and the Environment.
Patheos Press publishes ebooks and print books on religious topics; Patheos Ad Network provides revenue and advertising management to other websites; and Patheos Labs offers web services and design, creative content development, new media strategies, and technology facilitation.
Time magazine called the materials on Patheos "streamlined" and "reader-friendly". Religion News Service described it as "a more cerebral approach to what Beliefnet's been doing for nearly a decade". Patheos was featured as one of "21 Ways to Be Smarter in 2011" by Newsweek.
Some notable Patheos writers include:
- Thomas Moore (Spirituality) – Psychologist, former monk, author of Care of the Soul
- Brian McLaren (Progressive Christian) – Author, A New Kind of Christianity and We Make the Road By Walking
- Qasim Rashid (Muslim) – Author, The Wrong Kind of Muslim and Extremist
- Mark Nepo (Spirituality) – NYT Bestselling author, poet, and philosopher
- Brad Hirschfield (Jewish) – president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
- Daniel C. Peterson (Mormon) – Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University
- Vivianne Crowley (Pagan) – High Priestess of Wicca, professor at King's College London. Author, DruidCraft and Wicca: The Old Religion In the New Millennium
- Bristol Palin (Family Channel) – Author (with Nancy French) of Not Afraid of Life; daughter of former US Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin
- Frank Schaeffer (Progressive Christian) – Author, Crazy for God and Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God
- Hemant Mehta (Nonreligious) – Author, I Sold My Soul on eBay and Young Atheist’s Survival Guide; creator of the top atheist blog on the web
- Scot McKnight (Evangelical) – Seminary professor, author of over fifty titles primarily on the New Testament and historical Jesus
- Benjamin L. Corey (Progressive Christian) – Anabaptist Missiologist; author, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.
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"I think it's kind of funny when I get ads for Christian dating services," says Patheos Pagan blogger Jason Pitzl-Waters, but the off-point ads have been a point of conflict with others. "Many people feel like they need to create a safe space when they talk about religion," Pitzl-Waters notes. And ads, or money in general, destroy that sacred space for them.
- Bertsche, Emily; et al. (2010). Bridging Babel: New Social Media and Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding (Report). Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
- Twist, Haley Nichole (2016). Editing identity online: Film reviews as religious narratives on patheos (MA in Religious Studies). The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.