When debating someone I’ve always used this method as an aid to helping me overcome my opponent. It works really well and I learned it from Thomas himself. Basically he instructs us to meet the person on their own ground when they make an accusation.
I’ll give you some examples.
Atheist: You can’t prove God exists and all you’ve got is faith.
Christian: You can’t prove God doesn’t exist and you’re a man of faith also.
Atheist: Religion should be taken out of Catholic schools and taught at home.
Christian: Atheists should take their kids out of religious schools and give them a religiously deprived education at home or take them to another school that is ”atheist”.
Atheist: My taxes shouldn’t fund Catholic schools
Christian: My taxes shouldn’t fund schools deprived of a religious education fair is fair.
This kind of debate is called diffusing the argument by placing a mirror in front of them so they can see they are a reflection of their own argument. As a result you defeat them on their own terms with the same argument only mirrored back at them.
It’s not the only method of debate and can form part of the argument whilst throwing out a few statistics afterwards. For example with regards to schools again:
”My taxes shouldn’t fund schools deprived of a religious education fair is fair. By the way statistics show that in Ireland atheists only make up 5% of the population. This proves more religious are paying more money for these Catholic state funded schools and so the so-called secular state with regards to the funding of schools is actually a religious one. ”
You see how meeting them on their own ground was also mixed up with some statistics also? So it forms part of a debate and I thought it would help you when debating someone in future.
Debate is my least favourite part of my faith but lots of the saints were called to do it and so being a good debater is a vocation. St.Paul was considered the first really great debater so you should begin with him when learning.
There are more tips I have. I’ll save these for another post.