I don’t think you ever need to argue with a religious person at all.
Instead, simply keep returning to, “Ok, so you believe __________ because __________?”
All religious beliefs have 2 parts: a part that connects to real experience, and a part that’s a story given to explain that experience.
- I feel guilty (experience) because God’s Spirit is convicting me (explaining story).
- I want to live a worthwhile life (experience) because I was created for specific good works (explaining story).
- Injustice happens (experience) because we’re living in end times (explaining story).
You can always arrive back at those same 2 parts if you politely continue on with, “So you believe __________ because __________?”
Then you can connect with the religious individual around experiences shared (for example, “Yes I want to be good and live a worthwhile life as well.”) even if you’re not convinced the explaining stories are true.
That’s not being dishonest, is it?
By definition or tautology, you would believe if you were convinced.
All you’d have to see is anywhere an explaining story (God, fall of mankind, commandments, Jesus, angels, etc.) touches experience directly.