Millions with Questions Turn to Colorado Springs Department for Answers | faith and values

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? Do animals go to heaven? And what does the Bible teach about women pastors? Homosexuality? Tattoos? Masturbation? Mixed marriage? And white supremacy?

Millions of people who want to know the answers to these and nearly 700,000 other theological questions turn to a website, GotQuestions.orgwhich is operated by a Colorado Springs ministry founded in 2002.

In these early days of online religion, a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate named Shea Houdmann started the site, thinking it would be an interesting diversion until God called him to his true ministry.

“We didn’t know that would be the real ministry,” Houdmann said in a recent interview.

Some people who submit inquiries say they do so because they always wondered about a particular issue, had no one to ask, and didn’t want to ask their pastor. .

“Maybe the anonymity allows people to ask questions they’re embarrassed to ask and didn’t want to feel stupid,” Houdmann said.

GotQuestions has 13 million online visitors per month and publishes articles in 185 languages. The ministry has also created apps (for iPhone, Android, Alexa), a YouTube channel with 275,000 subscribers and a podcast.

Responses are handled by a team of 11 employees, seven of whom are based in Springs, and trained volunteers.

Questions are treated with respect and answered in a conversational tone with “love and grace”.

“It’s like you and I are good friends and you’re like, ‘Hey, Shea, what do you think?’ And I said, “Here’s what I think is the right answer.”

The motto of the $1.5 million ministry is simple: “Any questions? The Bible has answers, and we’ll help you find them.

Its mission statement is clear: “We are Christian, Protestant, Evangelical, theologically conservative and non-denominational. We see ourselves as a para-church ministry, coming alongside the church to help people find answers to their questions related to spirituality.

At first, Houdmann thought the site would help new believers grow in their faith, but questions about salvation and what happens after death showed the site could also serve evangelism.

In recent years, as more and more of America has given up on religion, Houdmann has seen more and more questioners doubt the existence of God.

Another trend: more haters and trolls.

In response to questions, GotQuestions replied that neither Donald Trump nor Barack Obama is the antichrist, drawing condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.

“There are more people who disagree vehemently and don’t know how to disagree kindly,” said Houdmann, a member of Northview Evangelical Free Church in Briargate.

Some issues are seasonal: the birth and death of Jesus are more common topics around Christmas and Easter. Other questions stem from pop culture. In 2005, readers began asking if Archangel Michael would join Satan in his rebellion at the end of time. The questions weren’t from the Bible, but from “Constantine,” a film starring Keanu Reeves that tapped into theological themes.

Natural disasters and personal tragedies generate higher traffic in the most difficult recurring question facing the ministry: why did God allow… (fill in the blank).

“We try to encourage people and remind them of the reasons to trust God even when they don’t understand what is going on, but we try not to speculate about what terrible thing they have been through.”

Barry F. Howard