Making a business of religion in a secular culture

Depending on your point of view, this is either a really terrible or absolutely ideal time to launch a site devoted to religion. Patheos.com, launched yesterday, is a "library of the histories and belief systems" of more than 50 world religions, sparked by weekly debate topics moderated by professors, divinity scholars and theologians. The idea -- that we as a society are desperate to understand our own and other religions, but we're afraid to talk about it face-to-face -- is, well, money.

Yes, there is advertising available, and for the newsletter, too! But is this about money or about understanding one another? About learning the beliefs behind other religions, or better understanding the one we've chosen ourselves? Or is it just about star power (the article in Time Magazine introduces Patheos by explaining the pull of celebrities to Scientology)? Either way, the article is vying for the top-most emailed this week, along with a story on hacking Facebook (you make your own witty analysis here).