It's not the debate that's such a bad thing as much as it is the animosity that spirals out of control. But why do so many people feel the need to justify their belief system by arguing their points? If you ask me, there is a much better way of going about it. The first thing that comes to mind is proslytisation. Why, you might ask? Simply that if you go door to door you find people who are apt for being taught the gosple, and should you come across those who disagree, you can just move on to the next house without a need to debate the issue.
The thing that detracts most from the teachings of the spirit is contention. In this regard we like for people to be somewhat reasonable in their communications when they approach investigators, but there is however, a certain ammount of spiritual influence which should be present when delivering the message of salvation.
I think it is more important to realize that people won't alyays remember the message as much as they will remember how they were treated, or how the message was delivered. A clear sign to anyone that is investigating a particular religion would be what they felt when they heard the message rather than, does everything square with logic and reasoning.
I have something to say about the human ego. First off when you're right, you're right, end of story. If noone believes you then too bad for them, as the Savior said, shake the dust off your feet and move on, you needn't cast your pearls to swine.
You have heard it said to give milk before the meat, but if somone isn't willing to even take a sip of the milk then why bother with the meat. In this regard you are setting yourself up for ridicule and that will only make you look bad. It is also at this point where the spirit of the Lord becomes grieved and you are left to yourself to opperate individually, then you are really going to go nowhere.
More important than being right is being able to admit when you're wrong. I don't have much to say about this subject because being wrong has never happend to me before..........
I once saw on one of the forums a guy talking about some disturbing hate mail that he had received. Soon a woman reader started telling everyone that he had fabricated the whole thing to get people to feel sorry for him, it turned out that his story was true, and when the woman saw that the letter was real she, gave no apology, and left with a note of disatisfaction. This action made her look very bad. The same thing can happen to anyone especially over a subject that you are passionate about. You have to curb the Ego when representing the Lord as you can easily get sucked into some heated debates over petty things. Again, you have to know when to walk away.
The Holy Spirit spoke the words of Christ to the Prophets of old, and not one word of prophecy or comandment was written without the aid of that very influence. Therefore if Scripture was dictated by that Spirit, then so must our comunications with others be if we are to represent him. And how could that spirit be resinent in us if we are to speak of eternal truths through means of debate, reason, or sophestry.
The church is in the business of truth telling, ie. "I saw the sun rise this morning." is this debatable? absolutely! but wether I am proved wrong through forums of debate, and the whole world agrees that I didn't see the Sun rise, the fact remains, and it doesn't matter if noone believes you, but if you feel obligated to spread that message, don't let your ego get in the way of expressing truth, otherwise people will not only find more reasons not to believe you, they will preceive that you think highly of yourself because you know something that they don't.