Here’s why debating (orthodox) Christians is so tedious, and virtually impossible to do productively:
[NOTE: When I refer to Christians I am speaking of the orthodox variety, not those like myself who differ categorically with almost every doctrinal premise and Biblical interpretation found in the Church today, from Original Sin to Christ’s Resurrection.]
“Faith” by Christian definition contains no null hypothesis. What this means is that the doctrinal premises Christians accept and assert are not beholden to any sort of rationally consistent plumb line. Indeed, I submit that for a Christian to accept that reason is efficacious, or even worse, NECESSARY, to “God’s Truth”, is heresy, at least implicitly. Faith is beyond reason because God is beyond reason, so it is assumed.
This is of course entirely false, as God is, I would argue, perhaps THE most rational Ideal out there when defined correctly (“correctly” meaning: In a way which does not endemically contradict him). Anyway, the relevance of this is that it is impossible for the rational person to disprove Christian doctrinal assertions or interpretations because proof by definition is a matter of reason…of consistency and non-contradiction. And reason is mutually exclusive of “faith”. Of course this also makes it impossible for the Christian to prove HIS assertions. The standard of disproof for the critic is also the standard of proof for the Christian (and vice versa). And this is another reason why debating Christians on matters of doctrine and interpretation is an almost entirely fruitless enterprise.
Here’s the paradox: In order to truly debate a Christian, the Christian must have first ALREADY rejected the “no null hypothesis” root of their arguments. And this necessarily means to reject those arguments, in essence, which equals a rejection of the doctrinal premises and interpretations—as these simply do not survive alongside a null hypothesis. In either case, null hypothesis or none, the debate is pretty much over before it begins.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that debating Christians is a complete and categorical waste of time; there is a lot to be said for the manner in which persons engage one another. You might be surprised at how successfully you can evangelize a Christian by simply not being a dick about things. (In other words, don’t model your approach after asshats like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, whose patronizing and irascible manner could turn off the Devil himself (and they are both completely wrong about everything, by the way…they pat themselves on the back for dismantling the object farce that passes for Biblical doctrine in orthodox Christianity—a task even my 10 year-old can do with facility—and think they are actually dismantling the scriptures, themselves…embarrassing.) But don’t expect to dazzle Christians with logic. They punted that away a long time ago.