I am Rock Cowles. I am an Ignostic agnostic atheist. I've explored many religions and at one time categorized myself as a Unitarian, and at another as a Christian, both many years ago. I have the web site GodlessAtheists.com and the facebook group Godless Atheists on facebook.
I've found debating religion with religious people to by almost always a lost cause and generally not worth the stress and aggravation. People who refuse to examine their beliefs while feeling entitled to force them on others are generally not open-minded, stimulating, or interesting conversationalists. Unfortunately, most religious people fit within this category.
I've been a member of several atheist forums and have found many of the regular members with high post counts to be miserably vindictive and aggressive trolls. Very angry and just as determined to defend their positions, often based on heresay that they have read or been told, with no more personal examination than many theists. Wonderful at parroting bits and pieces without much real knowledge.
We so often tend to stoop to the level of believers and respond with emotional outbursts that don't enhance our position of credibility.
I agree with Sam Harris and others about the destructive force of religion. I'd like to see it expunged from our lives, but doubt that will ever happen. I'd certainly like to see it separated from our government. As probably the most detested minority in the world, we'll have very little political pull until we can remove the hate from our rhetoric.
Hating religion is like hating money, people of a particular race, the Navy, or the World. All are faceless entities, generalizations, or concepts. If a priest molests an alter boy, he does not represent all of Catholicism or all religious people. We need to hold individuals accountable for their actions, not organizations, if we are to see the organizations make any changes.
I have a dark and often brutal sense of humor. I have learned not to be so quick to cut others down at the knees with my wit. I became an ordained minister in the early nineties through the Universal Life Church, thinking it would be a fun way to shut believers down when they proselytized. It was, but it didn't deconvert anyone or improve life as we know it for anyone that I could see. Still fun and worth doing. My choice for free ordination today is The Church of the Apathetic Agnostic.
Remember: Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.
Stop generalizing. Deal with and address individuals. Don't bluff. Know your facts. Realize that many believers define who they are by their beliefs. Someone trying to take that away, especially all at once, is to them as frightening as death. (You would think they would be excited about going to Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla, or whatever afterlife they think they are going to to meet their beloved deity/deities of choice.)
Walk softly and carry a big stick. There is no bigger stick than the truth when it hits your right between the eyes!