It’s ridiculous hearing folks arguing about the existence of God. What’s pathetic is the Christian apologetic who just can’t seem to reason what any argument for the existence of God actually means, implies, or how it works. We cannot prove or demonstrate the gods, folks. We can only help ourselves using logic and reason to limit what we say about them. This is the only means we have to contain the metaphysical conversation at all; as metaphysics, as Dennett would say, “is a game with no rules”.
Here’s the only honest conversation I think a believer could have epistemologically with an interlocutor:
Why anything at all?
Because something has always existed.
You don’t know that! How can you say you do?
It’s not something I say I know. Given my everyday contact with the world, it’s all I can reasonably say. Nothing comes from nothing after all, right? I can’t just throw common sense out the window or make a special case with the universe. If I did claim to know, I’d be justified anyway just as I would believing “I exist” as a matter of fact. Both would be something I know simply because there’s no reason to believe I don’t exist because I “may” not, anymore than me saying I don’t know something always existed because something “may” not have. The fact is, I have every reason to believe both and no real reason to doubt either. The reasons are simply that I experience that “I exist” and that I experience “nothing from nothing” and I have no experiences but these so that I could doubt them.
Is the universe eternal?
It may be, but cosmogonists and cosmologists don’t seem to think so.
Well, if the universe is contingent, how did it come into being?
Either from things themselves contingent or from something not contingent. But arguments for the existence of God have nothing to do with “how” things come into being. That’s a mechanical question for physicists. What these arguments are meant to do is point to “why” in terms of dependent relationships. In the end, they’re meant to suggest “God” is the ultimate “thing on which all contingent things depend”.
So ultimately, what you’re saying is that “turtles all the way down” doesn’t explain “why anything at all”; something dependent doesn’t explain why an infinite series of dependencies came to be in the first place because it requires an explanation itself? We have to conclude something is eternal in order to have any explanation at all?
Is that God?
No, not if it lacks volition.
Is it an impressionistic guess that it is or isn’t volitional?
So does the existence of the universe prove God created it?
No. Again, something itself contingent could be the sufficient cause. First cause only applies to the question “why anything at all”. The first cause is a necessary cause for any and all contingent realities, by definition. However, there may in fact be no first cause at all. We’re inferring and merely being as rational as we can in guessing what we cannot know or prove in reality.
So none of this proves God exists?
Do you believe there is a God?
I get the impression something like a God exists, yes. Do you?
Well, that’s all there is to arguments about the existence of God. They prove nothing and most never realize their attempts to prove or disprove the existence of gods is merely saying to another person, “my impression is better than yours!” and I’m not going to do that to you. What you do with your impressions may well be worth more than mine, depending on how it makes you live in the world.
I never really looked at it that way. Not much value in fighting about gods, is there?
None as far as I can see.