Like all atheists living in a religious infested society. I run into the theistic mammal once in a while, and following in the footsteps of my hunter-gatherer ancestors; I aim to swiftly take them down, but with clever rhetoric and indisputable logic in lieu of brute force. However, with the passage of time I have started to be less abrasive on the zealot. Why? It is not because I feel remorse when I burst the delusional bubble in which they hold any hopes for an afterlife or moral high ground, but because I want to create impact that may spark curiosity and with it doubt. My goal is to open the door of skepticism. That door that once you put your foot on the other side; you are in and there is no going back.
My question to the atheist community would be: When you debate the zealot what do you expect to get out of it?
Is it intellectual masturbation achieved by shutting down ineffective arguments that have be busted since Bertrand Russell could lay down a coherent thought?
Is it that you expect to persuade the zealot into changing his erroneous ways?
Do you only debate in “self-defense”?