I admit that i seem to forget too much when a debate happens. In the heatr of the moment, i draw a blank. I had the idea of making acronyms to remember certain points. Why not share your skills with the rest of us. "lilo prayman" was my first technique i guess. This covers literal bible discussion (li), the coincidence of location and religious leanings (lo), god's will and why pray (pray), and the fact that so much of the bible has been explained/debunked by man, but not the other way around (man). So "lilo prayman" seems to stick with me. I need more. What about an acronym for the sun gods that preceded jesus; just an idea.

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I personally cannot tolerate debates with religious people too much because they don't work within logic.

so with christians i say this and just stop arguing. (unless they keep going , i don't flee from a battle)

But mostly I end up just asking... "why do you think god exist" or "give me your reasons for why he most likely exists" and i can come up with reasons on the fly showing their reasons to be weak.

Step 1: Discuss how shrimp is forbidden and the rules for which god says you can sell your daughter into slavery.

Step 2: Say how christians don't live thier lies by the top two examples and say that this is evidence our morals don't come from the bible but from society. Show how what is deemed "proper" in america has changed greatly even though the bible is exactly the same.

Step 3: Say how the bible says the earth must be less than like 10000 years old. ( i believe this is the number, but as long as it is less than 6 billion or so i'm good). and that there was a large world wide flood.

Step 4: Say that those two things are wrong conclusively. (astonishing lack of evidence for world wide flood)

Step 5: Since the entire timeline of the bible is wrong and it speaks of known untruths the entire book looses a grreat deal of credibility.

Step 6: The only material we have for the christian religion is the bible so the religion has a very wrong foundation.

Step 7: Christianity is not correct.

Step 8: Claim that every religion has some similar error (although i haven't verified this. i just feel every religion has some absurd disprovable supersition.

Step 9: Since the religions are wrong their gods are unsubstantiated.

Step 10: Claim that the deists god is completely made up by people. it doestn' even have a sacred text to try to give it credence. it's just something people said... "hey! this seems plausible. so it's true"

however due to the nature of argument i've never gotten past step 3.
My hint is learn to listen to exactly what people say. They are in a similar position to yourself they are unsure of what they are saying and uncertain of how to debate.

Be polite be extremely polite be nauseatingly polite then use what they are saying to make their argument look stupid.

Check their facts, if you are unsure of somthing they have said ask them for references ask them OK you have said "XYZ" where is your proof and evidence to back up that statement.

Don't rely on your memory and your facts to win rely on them making stupid errors and then work from there.
Having debated numerous fundamentalist Christians on myspace I know the temptation to resort to ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, as much as you might be spewing out four letter words in the privacy of your study, it is not wise to start name-calling in blogs or forums. Name-calling only signals that you have run out of rational arguments. Once you start calling Christians fuckwit and asshat, you're letting everyone know you've lost the argument.

I think that with some Christians, there comes a point where you just have to concede defeat. Make your point and walk away.

I always think about the people who are lurking but not posting and write for them. You may not have convinced the person you're debating, but if you make good points, in a clear and concise manner, and abstain from attacking your opponent personally, you may just influence a reader without knowing it.

I agree with Doug - be polite until their ears bleed!

Remember Romans 12:20: Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
I agree with Doug and Kristy...If you listen carefully to what your "adversary" is saying, you'll find a a lot of contradictions and false logic which you can point out and use to strengthen your position.

It also extremely important to remain calm and self assured.

I do challenge one thing Kristy has said.."I think that with some Christians, there comes a point where you just have to concede defeat." I do not agree that one must "concede defeat"...and I don't really think Kristy meant this literally. I do agree that with some Christians...at some point, you do have to just "make your point and walk away" but you have no obligation to concede defeat unless you feel that you have been defeated...that you have presented the weaker of the points of debate.
No, of course I didn't mean you actually say, "I can't win against you." I just meant there comes a point where you realize you're bashing your head against a brick wall and you've stated your argument half a dozen different ways. That's when you have to walk away and console yourself that other people reading the debate will see the Christian's argument as obtuse.
"there comes a point where you realize you're bashing your head against a brick wall"

I have bashed my head against a brick wall many times. :-)
Since there is no logic and reason with believers it is difficult to debate a theist. It is really up to them to proove the existance of god - with facts. It is as difficult for them as it would be to proove the tooth fairy or santa claus exists. The debate is hardly worth doing really as we know the reality.
I agree with you Kevin...but the temptation (to debate a theist) is sometimes overwhelming.....even knowing that you'll never "make the sale".

But my main interest is not debating the existence of god...that can't really be done. I enjoy debating the validity of the methods by which the believers have come to be believers....the basis of religion. I never expect to convince a believer that he is wrong. I can hopefully plant the notion that it is OK for him to question...question both his method of believing and the validity of his faith. More than anything though...I want the believers to understand that their faith is not universal among man and that the number of people who believe has nothing to do with the truth and does not validate their belief.
I've always wanted to infiltrate a christian website and run some polls, or ask some questions, and document the answers. I'm sure that the answers will vary. A while back, i did this with the question "what is the location of hell?" I got answers like: in the center of the earth, hell is not a place, but a state of being/suffering. I got variations of five or six different answers, but alot of the answers were very similar to the top results on a google search:)
I agree the temptation is overwhelming and I do debate once in a while. There is a favorite t shirt that I may order and it says: "It's OK not to believe".

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