American Broadcast Pioneer Donates Major Online Resource for World Religion to Claremont School of Theology
Rev. Dr. William F. Fore recently donated Religion-Online.org to the Claremont School of Theology library. Dr. Fore picked the School because he wanted his website in the hands of a world-class institution for the study and practice of religions in life-affirming ways.
Many Westerners are not aware that U.S. televangelists broadcasting on satellite TV are often the main source of theological education in less developed countries today. Religion-Online.org gives a much sought-after alternative. On this thoughtfully indexed, public-domain website, students of religion can access theological texts by real scholars, texts that many of them cannot afford to buy and often cannot find in their country’s libraries. Dr. Fore, Religion-Online’s creator and moderator, has received hundreds of emails thanking him for making this resource available.
The site is one of the most heavily used online resources in the area of religion. According to Google statistics, this year it had about 10 million hits by visitors from more than 200 different countries.
Dr. Fore is one of America’s true pioneers in journalism, mass media, and mainstream Christianity. The retired Yale professor has been on the ground floor for the beginnings of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Council of Churches, and organizations that promote communications and broadcasting in less developed countries. One of his proudest accomplishments, however, has been the creation of Religion-Online, which he originally designed in 1997 so that his theology students in India and others like them could have access to books that were impossible for them to afford.
Religion-Online offers scans of more than 6,000 book chapters, articles, and speeches, including an extensive collection of Christian Process Theology; an especially rare collection of Indian Dalit (“untouchables”) writings on theology, sociology, and ethics; as well as collections of Hindu and Buddhist Theology. However, says Fore, the site still has gaps in Judaism, Islam, and other religions that he hopes Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Lincoln University will eventually be able to fill.
“This is a wonderful gift,” said Rev. Dr. Jerry D. Campbell, president of Claremont. “It is an honor that Bill Fore has entrusted us with the future of Religion-Online, and we are extremely grateful. We will take our new responsibility very seriously.”
“Around the world, Religion-Online has been the premier way of making recent religious thought available to masses of people,” said eminent Process Theologian Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr. “This has included process thought quite broadly. Hundreds of thousands of people interested in thoughtful religion, but who know little about North American theological institutions, will become aware of how the Claremont School of Theology is helping them.”
The gift is already attracting significant media attention, with stories from the National Catholic Reporter, the Sun-Sentinel, National Council of Churches News, North American Interfaith Network, the World Association for Christian Communication’s WACC News, and others.
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