I've told some stories about emotional barriers to faith, but today I just want to give a list of some of the common emotional barriers I have seen when talking to people over the last few years.
My question for you is what you think the appropriate response to these barriers is. Is there a way to engage those barriers within a relationship? Do you have any resources that you use to help people walk through these barriers?
Common emotional barriers/questions
• How can God send people to hell?
• If I believe in God, then I have to believe that my recently deceased family-member is in hell.
• I could never serve a God who allows so much suffering in the world.
• How can God be good and allow people to starve?
Effect of faith on my life
• If I become a Christian, I will have to give up my favorite parts of myself and the things I like to do?
• If I become a Christian, will I have to look and act like all the [fake, annoying, disconnected-from-reality] Christians that I know?
• If I become a Christian, will I have to forgive . . . [my abusive father, the man who raped me, my spouse who left me]?
• I believe in God, but the church kicked my family out when I was 5.
• I believe in God, but the church is mean to people.
• I believe in God, but the church takes a political position that goes against my values.
Excluded by the Church
• I am a strong, professional woman. There is no place for me in your church.
• I am a homosexual. There is no place for me in your church.
• I am a minority. There is no place for me in your church.
• I am divorced or unmarried. There is no place for me in your church.
• I’m doing just fine on my own, thank you very much.
• Things are a mess right now, but I’ll start going to church again once I have my life together.
• I don’t trust you, and I don’t trust God.
• I’m not good enough to be loved by God.
• If God the Father is anything like my father, I don’t want anything to do with him.
A pdf version of this list is available here.