The following is an excerpted discussion I had with four atheists. For clarity my interlocutors’ words appear bold and italicized. May God bless your reading.
“William Lane Craig claims everything that exists has a cause [this would include God]."
William Lane Craig does not claim "everything that exists has a cause."
He claims: "Whatever begins to exist has a cause" (On Guard, p. 102, emphasis mine).
God does not begin to exist. This is true by definition. You may not like this definition of God but you cannot demonstrate this definition to be illogical; nor can you alter this definition without leaving the discussion of theism altogether. That is, you don't have the privilege of defining my beliefs for me, and then attacking your definition of “my” beliefs.
"There is no reason to believe that everything that began to exist had a cause."
Upon what basis do you make this assertion? What evidence can you offer contra ex nihilo nihil fit?
(No answer was offered.)
“How then are we to know that the universe isn't eternal?”
Is this a denial of Big Bang cosmology? Upon what basis do you deny the so-called “Big Bang”? What evidence do you offer which indicates that astrophysicists are wrong to conceive of the universe as having a beginning 13.73 billion years ago (Hugh Ross, More Than a Theory, p. 62)?
(No answer was offered.)
“What's truly enlightening is once you realize that all the gods were created out of primitive man's Original Ignorance . . .”
This is merely a bald assertion; begging the question at its finest (or worst). Such statements are “red meat” for your allies, but really offer nothing meaningful to the conversation.
“The uncaused cause is itself question begging, the question why springs to mind.”
To understand God as "pure Causality" is not begging the question. It is a defining of terms. It is simply stating: The Being of which I speak has aseity. There's nothing illogical in such a definition. I am defining terms not making assertions.
"Your god and his associated dogma is only defined by the words created by men."
Here again, you make a statement but not a point. You seem to be under the illusion that the "words created by men" to describe things, correlates to those described things as being themselves created by men!
This is sheer nonsense. It is indeed difficult to conceive of "words" not "created" by men. And, it is equally difficult to conceive of "definitions" without "words."
But what are words? Are they not symbols? Do we mistake the words/symbols for the realities these words/symbols represent?
Man certainly "creates" words/symbols but he most certainly does not (necessarily) create the realities those words/symbols represent. Did we not "create" the words/symbols which represent or "define" the principles or "dogma" of logic, mathematics, and physics?
Is it your position that because we've created the words/symbols which represent these things (and all things) that we have in fact created these things in and of themselves? Are all things represented with words/symbols simply human constructs?
“When I see terms such as data, information, purpose I often think all that is happening is the human mind is effectively anthropomorphising [sic] events.”
C.S. Lewis observes: "What we learn from experience depends upon the philosophy we bring to experience."
If one brings a materialist, evolutionary philosophy to experience/evidence, then, of course, what one learns from such experience/evidence will be evolutionary. The same is true for theism or most any other "-ism."
Thus, no matter what evidence for theism one offers to materialists/evolutionists, that evidence—because of their philosophical pre-commitments—will simply and most hastily be piled with all the other "evidence" in the garbage bin of their minds. They cannot do otherwise.
When you're a hammer the whole world looks like a nail.