One of the worst things we have to contend with is the world around us. In the Soviet Union for example, while there was a militant atheism, it was forcefully pushed down everyone's throats. While the weaker willed people embraced it, others felt this pressure and understood it was unnatural. Some priests have gone as far as to admit that taking the mandatory "scientific atheism" class was what pushed them towards the church.
Today in America, Christianity is associated with protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and we see what a great job our media has done demonizing the adherents of those confessions.
Orthodoxy is hardly heard of and is lumped into one category with other Christian confessions, which always bothers me and is one of the reasons I'm against ecumenism, as well as the tendency of some Orthodox to try and copy western Christian fasions (shaven clergy, wearing the dog collar, celebrating the new calendar, having pews, etc). To me in the eyes of the non-believer that makes the Orthodox look MORE like the people the non believers have been conditioned to dislike. Maybe this explains why we see so many converts from other Christian confessions but not that many from atheistic/agnostic backgrounds. When someone walks into an Orthodox church, sees a priest wearing long hair with a beard, in a long black cassock, sees that people are so devoted to God that they try to stand for the whole service, when they see that we don't care about conformity to other Christian confessions and the western world at large, I can't help but imagine that elicits more respect and wonder particularly from a non-believer/skeptic.
Anyway, I know others will disagree and I don't mean to offend those from more western style Orthodox parishes, they have done a lot of great missionary work and are certainly within our Orthodox fold (unlike what some others argue). I digressed....
America's atmosphere is one of the most un-conducive to Orthodoxy. Kids are taught to question everything and not to trust anyone, secularism is considered enlightened living, multiculturalism is being lumped together with the acceptance of not just people of different races (which is fine according to our faith) but "sexual minorities" (which certainly is not). Oppression of someone for the reasons of race is the same as oppressing someone for their 'sexual orientation', something which you 'cannot change because its natural and proven by science' as all 'professional psychologists will agree'. All of this is forced upon us but its harder to see and feel that here in America than in the USSR, where the forceful method was more visible. Here you're not going to stand in front of an NKVD troika for saying 'I disagree', although they'll use every attempt to humiliate you and look like you're 'insensitive' and 'backward'.
Today Buddhism is promoted by Hollywood as being as healthy for you as tofu and ginseng tea, and it's oh so chique and other worldly - so many in America and western Europe look east for their religious inspiration without making a stop in eastern Europe first
Dissolving your brain into nothingness is the only way to make yourself feel "chill" when your life's main focus is to make good money and have a nice house. Goodness forbid people should have to feel guilty over something (which psychologists feel is bad for you now) and 'repent', that's oh so bad for your self esteem. Just look at the modern 'dating and relationship guides' to see an example of what society we're living in.
This false auto-suggestive morality of 21st century is really revolting. Morality here isn't about living according to God's way, it's about self interest, the 'nicer' you are the more your 'customers will be happy', keeping in line with the capitalistic tradition of America. This, unfortunately, is what you have to fight when you're witnessing, and I think that one of the key places that we have to focus on sometimes is understanding how to counteract these ideologies, how to explain that by feeling guilty and confessing you are not hurting yourself but making yourself stronger, etc. Priests need to be a bit more educated on the modern world and use caution not to merely copy the Catholic or Protestant apologetic approaches but to make sure they're taking as Orthodox of a point of view as possible.
Sometimes I do get the impression that some clergy and missionaries simply believe in either targeting those Christians who are of another confession and getting them to swing over to Orthodoxy (which is fine), as its easier to talk to people who have an understanding of what sin is and who Jesus is, or in simply saying "go and pray, that's all", rather than charging in a head on attack with the forces of today's world. I think this is where the clergy in former communist countries are stronger and better.