I've been thinking a lot lately about losing one's faith. I have several close friends who have lost their faith in God as of late, and it's made me reevaluate some things.
The hardest thing to do as of late. We all have answers we think are perfect, often ripped right off the bumper of our cars, and usually my friends aren't interested in answers per se. In fact, I wonder if its easier to offer an explanation for suffering rather than sit in that person's suffering with them.
The hardest part of apologetics for me is listening not to their arguments, but listening to them. Getting to know their heart. Like I mentioned a while back, sledgehammers don't make for good surgical instruments.
Wondering about how people come to lose their faith. For some that I know, it was purely intellectual. For others, it is personal. For the rest, I didn't get a clear answer. They mentioned the failure of the church to meet their needs (spiritually), and I see some validity to that.
This is not a critique of the church per se, but I do doubt how concerned we are with genuinely helping people. We see this in partisan politics and the culture wars. Wondering if one has the truth or tradition ought to be a lifelong pursuit.
Toleration of diversity. I do wonder how many people are truly comfortable with being close to another with whom they disagree. I have a close friend named James with whom I've had some pretty nifty theological scuffles over, but it has never drawn blood. That I know of. ;-)
I also have several friends who are atheists and agnostics, and I value them so much more because of their (lack of) faith. I don't say this often, but its healthy to be challenged by fundamental differences, and I should be more welcoming of that.