What's with the internet religious discussion anyway?
After all, religion is a Forbidden Topic in polite company. By this we can conclude that the internet is not polite company; then again, anyone who has seen all the flaming already knew that. So, is it academic discourse? No. Hardly anyone involved in such discussions is a scholar, and the discussion largely lacks scholarly apparatus.
Why are people doing it? Well, some people are clearly preaching, or relaying the preaching of others. Presumably this is supposed to gain converts, but since sermons are (mostly) boring, this tends to be largely about the poster gratifying himself that he's satisfied his evangelistic obligations, and they tend to have no interest in real conversation or discusssion.
Conversely, a lot of the atheists are plainly in it for the sheer bloody-minded entertainment value of it. It's rather like bear-baiting, and there are lots of Christian hardheads available to play the part of the bear.
Then there are all the people who want to continue the 30 Years War, or the Battle of Kosovo, or the Iconoclast Controversy, or choose-your-favorite-fight. These people do want to argue, and they are going to defeat you.
So who's left? More to come....