In my travels I interact with many atheists.
Generally, there are two levels:
1. The Big Boys: professional philosophers who bring a sophisticated product to the table.
A sampling of names: William Rowe, J.L. Mackie, Quentin Smith, Kai Neilsen, the early Antony Flew.
Thoughtful Christians should read their books and essays, and interact with their arguments. They force us, quite helpfully, to elevate the quality of our apologetic.
2. The Pretenders: the “new” atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.
Lots of rhetoric here, not much philosophical substance.
Many devotees of the new atheists are not aware of their own professionals. Rather, they parrot the dismissive tones (and sense of victimhood) of the Pretenders.
One can hear their harsh tones at school and office.
If you’ve been confronted by a disciple of the Pretenders, I’d like to assure you that it’s mostly bluster.
My advice is to ask questions, show love and respect, find out what they really think — and why. Don’t get into a verbal shoving match.
At some point your manner will open a door for witness.