I do understand what some people mean about the importance of setting a good example in certain situations. But we have to define what is a good example? Is it really always civility and the virtues we want others to emulate, or can it be useful to teach by making a bad example? I will explain later.
There is a lot of room for disagreement on what is a generally good behavior, and while peter boghossian takes a softer Socratic approach to persuade Christians, Christopher Hitchens is combative and debates on hard facts. Certain techniques work better on certain personalities and we need to support both doves and hawks to get our message out.
I personally think I need to be more aggressive. I think we should even mimic their hypocrisies at times if we see an individual using them, so that Christians will see it and call us out on them, and then hopefully realize they’re looking in a mirror and fix their ways. For example, it might be useful to act like you’ve lost your temper around someone who loses their temper easily, to teach them a lesson about maintaining self-control if you want to be listened to. It might be useful to be excessively prideful around a proud psrson for the same reason. I guess this is the opposite of setting a good example, and I haven’t heard anyone else use it, but I think it has uses.
It’s a pre-liminary lesson that needs to be learned somehow or other to listen. Otherwise no discussion or real exchange of ideas can occur. If you ever meet someone who is 70 years old and cannot remain calm, rational or humble enough to listen to a word you say on anything, but who loves to berate and throw out uninformed prejudices, I think It’s justified to mirror them and show utter disrespect until they realize their wrong.