Dilbert – as so often – hits a painful nail on the head with one of his long-running ‘Dilbert on a date’ gags:
…a classic case of winning the argument (potentially), but (certainly) losing the relationship.
None of us like to be wrong and simply telling people that what they believe is silly / unbelievable / disproved tends not to help a tremendous amount in helping them be open to considering what we believe to be true.
Paul, the foremost evangelist of the early church just doesn’t do this kind of thing. When you read him, in the midst of pagan religion, speaking about Jesus, he does so in a way to make connections with the existing beliefs of his listeners – he starts with what he can agree with, not where he believes they’re wrong (Acts 17 with Paul in Athens is the classic example).
When someone we know piles in via Dawkins, it can be very tempting to simply get involved in an argument trying to knock Dawkins down – how about finding something to agree on (the need for taking all evidence into account; not ‘switching off our brains’ when it comes to religion; the potential abuses of power and faith etc.) and start from there?