Before I start this please know that it is not meant to offend. I have no issues with others belief systems - only how they choose to use them against other people. I believe in the right to religious freedom - in what I see to be the true meaning of the phrase. Everyone is free to worship (or not) how they see fit without forcing their beliefs upon others because those others are free to worship (or not) how they see fit. I think debate is healthy up to a point because we can learn something from one another. See each others point of view. Education is always a good thing. Unfortunately things turn nasty so quickly with topics such as these. Maybe because some of us are trying to convert each other - and we shouldn't be. It's too big a thing - you will almost certainly not make someone an Atheist or Christian or Pagan or any other religion over the internet or in any single conversation in person. It took me over ten years to transform from Christian to Agnostic to Atheist. And no one else did it for me. No one single argument from anyone pushed me in any single direction. People contributed - but by their natural actions. By simply being themselves. By the world being the way it is. But it was mostly my own thoughts and actions. My own questions and the answers I sought out for myself.
I was raised Christian - specifically Baptist. I went to Sunday school as a child and was the youngest person to be baptized at my church (at the time anyway, I haven't kept up with their records.). I went to a Christian camp when I was young and when I grew up I worked there for my first job.
I was thinking about that job today - more specifically leaving it. I was sixteen years old and it was midsummer. I was stressed, anxious and depressed. My job was working in the kitchen and my mental health was not conducive to hanging around sharp objects all day. I was worried about myself and I felt it best to remove myself from the situation. So I let the director know I was quitting. I couldn't give notice, I was sorry. I don't remember what I told him was the reason for my leaving - I know it wasn't the truth. I was told that the two directors wanted to say good-bye to me and as I'd worked there for about two years that seemed normal so I went into one of the offices. They sat me down and one sitting, one standing they proceeded to tell me that I was a slut and a whore for the amount of time I spent with my boyfriend, including spending the night (supervised) at his house. They told me that my character was flawed, I wasn't a good person and I wouldn't amount to anything in life because I was raised without a father. They also said some stuff about my mother. Two grown men lied to get a sixteen year old girl into their office so that they could berate her. And why? Because she quit without notice.
This is what started the change for me. Two Christian men running a Christian camp and acting very un-Christlike. No one with a witty comment or a bible verse or a well thought out point would have done it. No internet argument or in person debate would have changed my life enough to make me rethink where I wanted to place my faith. And even with this turning point, as I said it took over ten years for me to change completely from Theist to Atheist. I think if you want to have a theological discussion, that's fine. Even encouraged. But be smart about it. Be kind and respectful and be educational. Don't beat people over the head with your beliefs because they need their own change, their own turning point for a new belief system - if it ever comes. I always had questions, but I wasn't looking to change. Change found me.