A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me whether or not I thought it was wise to read some particular books by mennwho publically attack Christianity (one was scientific, the other philosophical). I figured I'd share my opinions and experiences with you guys, as well. :-)
1 - Reading such books/articles/etc. can be a healthy way to strengthen your own faith since thinking deeper about the issue can leave you more convinced of God's truth than ever.
2 - Understanding other viewpoints renders you far better able to share the Gospel with people who hold those views
1 - It can really jack up your faith if their arguments sound convincing. It's not only new or young believers who can fall victim to this. Remember, even John the Baptist later doubted!
What I Suggest (based on my personal experience):
1 - Pray hard about the decision whether or not to read it, and keep praying throughout the process to check with God if He wants you to continue.
2 - Unless you feel strongly led to do otherwise, only read such writings in fields you are familiar with. For example, I'm not a science-minded person, so I shy away from that, but I do feel comfortable tackling such writings that are focused on history and philosophy (e.g. Ayn Rand's works).
3 - While reading that work, spend at least as much time each day reading the Bible - I'm serious.
4 - Closely monitor your own spiritual state throughout the process, and don't hesitate to take a break or stop.
5 - One of the purposes is to think more deeply for yourself, yes, but this doesn't mean rebuttalls to the work (or the topic/s covered in the work) by other Christians aren't fantastic resources to keep you on track.
Remember, it's not for everyone, and that's not a judgment on anyone's level of faith. :-)
So now, you tell me - What experience do you have with this sort of thing? What other pros, cons, and tips can you offer?