Our Southern California correspondent, Lilly Fowler, is working on a new project that’s worth a few minutes of your web-browsing time. It’s an ambitious new effort called Patheos, which at first glance seems to a more cerebral approach to what Beliefnet’s been doing for nearly a decade. Both sites are dedicated to helping you find your spiritual path, but Patheos seems a little less excited about using Chicken Soup for the Soul to get you there.
Call it one-stop-shopping for the spiritually curious.
There’s a little bit of everything there, from a cool interactive map of the spaghetti-history timelines of major faith traditions, to an online library of sacred texts, to a searchable database of spiritual/worship centers near you. I wondered how many Oriental Orthodox places were near me — ya know, just for fun — and three popped up, so I guess it works.
They’ve got a pretty nifty “Perspectives” section on major topics (this week seems to be gay marriage). So, if you want a quick take on what Catholicism or Buddhism or Paganism teaches about gay marriage, there you go. Creators have also separated mainline Protestants and evangelical Protestants into separate categories, which is probably smart — especially on an issue like this.
Speaking of creators, here’s what they say they’re trying to do:
Patheos.com is 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.
So, bottom line, it’s worth a visit. My main critique is that the pages take a loooooooooong time to load (and I’m pretty sure it’s no my computer acting up) and with my generally short attention span for web sites, I found myself quickly losing interest as I waiting for menus, etc., to pop up. But Patheos is still young and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they haven’t yet worked out all the kinks. Overall, a pretty impressive product.