Here's why you get tripped up:
I lost so badly in the first round ... anonymous
There are no rounds, there is only life.
One of my daughters gave me a Far Side calendar for Christmas. The cartoon for last week shows a Buffalo Indian-wrestling with an Indian! The caption has another Buffalo saying, Vince, Just trample him! ... He's drawing you into his kind of fight!
Let me explain. As long as we think we have to prepare for someone's theological quirks (note: it was during a free-will vs. election argument) then we are stepping into their ring. But the error is not as much in what the other says as in how it is couched in an intricate web of logic. That is why we seem to lose. That is why we are pulled into the realm of thinking we can beat them at their game. I would imagine that you are disturbed by the fact that you seem to agree with many of their points, but that you can't word your objections well enough to explain yourself.
This is a long story, but it may mean something to you. Many years ago, I had a couple of Mormons come to the house under the guise of representing an insurance company. Not surprising that we got into a discussion, huh? (This was during the beginning of my being blown away by grace.) As I spoke of the grace of Christ to them it was obvious that the reality of Christ held sway over the whole discussion. The younger of the two was intrigued and excited by the truth of freedom in Jesus. I didn't even concern myself with the typical Mormon witnessing approach. The elder was disturbed because he couldn't find a place for his arguments, but he put a good face on it by acting like he agreed with what I was saying. He threw out a few challenges. Something he said ... or the fact that he wasn't objecting to stuff I knew he hated ... triggered me to want to respond with some attacks on his religion. I quickly searched and found an anti-Mormon fact sheet someone gave me a while back and began to offer the points as an added shotgun. I had jumped into HIS ring ... and he was primed and ready for the chance to present his stuff. He was the Indian and I was the Buffalo and he threw me down because I played HIS game and he was whooping my butt!
I had stepped away from the ONLY thing that cuts through the lie and had imagined that the fleshly approach could do it just a little bit better! As I groaned within, I heard the Lord saying something like, Jim! Just trample him! ... He's drawing you into his kind of fight! (Now, don't take that "trample" concept outside of the framework of the Far Side cartoon, okay?) I apologized for having even brought the stuff up and then continued with the reality of Christ. The floor once again became the victory mat of the Lord Jesus Christ. As to my being afraid that the difference between life and death was not being seen by the guy who was supposedly agreeing with me the whole evening, here's what happened. As he saw that he had no place to fight and that he was losing his younger charge to this perceived heresy, he dropped the mask. He began to rant and rave and one by one he recited his doctrinal beliefs. Each one was a direct contradiction to everything he claimed to agree with me on during the evening. I had to repeatedly ask him to leave my house. At the door, in the middle of his bizarre behavior, I looked him in the face and asked him why he pretended to agree with me. He gave me an evil look and walked out.
Don't think that just because these guys were part of a cult makes their approach any different from believers who use the same techniques.
There ARE answers to many of the things you ask, but it is found outside of that format! It is found in the life of the crucified and risen Christ ... which means, the answer is in YOU! Unless, of course, you somehow managed to become a Christian without Christ being in you ... yuck, yuck!!
When you find yourself in the arena again, ask yourself: What does this have to do with Christ being our life? Am I a new creation? If I have been made new in Christ then is there any place for the arguments of the old creation? Is he a new creation? If he is, then is he trying to war with weapons of the flesh? And if he is, then YOU STILL SPEAK TO HIM AS WHO HE REALLY IS AND NOT AS WHO HE IS THINKING HE IS!! If he is not a new creation, then he has nothing else with which to war. Still speak to him of Christ, knowing that he REALLY has no clue of what you speak of, but that also knowing that the power of the good news of Christ can open his eyes.
DO NOT BE PULLED OFF OF THE REALITY OF CHRIST! DO NOT LET ANYONE CAUSE YOU TO ASSUME THAT HE IS NOT YOUR VERY LIFE! DO NOT LET YOUR WORDS REFLECT THAT FALSE ASSUMPTION!
Much love to you (brother) ... and all!!