One of my mentors, Norman Geisler, was no stranger to critiquing others’ viewpoints. He always taught a great truth: before you can criticize another person’s viewpoint, or even evaluate it, you must first summarize the other person’s teachings in a manner so that the other person would be able to say ‘that is an accurate statement of my views.’ Then you must state the things that are valuable about the other person’s work, for all people have something valuable that we can learn from, they all have some valuable contribution. Then, and only then, have you earned the right to criticize or evaluate the other person’s viewpoint. Again, we must summarize the other person’s viewpoint so that they would agree with our summary, and state the valuable parts of their work. Only then have we earned the right to criticize.
This is a simple but valuable lesson, and one sorely missing from all sides in the debate of ideas these days, including the one from Christian apologists and atheists.