Theist debaters, in attempts to compete with their non-theist counterparts have developed arguments based on logical rules to explain why they believe (and notice we’re still using the word “believe”) that a god or gods are necessary beings that, in actuality, exist. One such argument is the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which goes like this:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause,
- The universe began to exist, therefore,
- The universe has a cause.
This argument isn’t really too objectionable. While we may not know exactly what a thing’s cause is there’s no real reason for us to say that a thing doesn’t have a cause. We deal in temporal events and our brains are kind of hard-wired to accept a beginning > existence > end sequence of events.
The problem with this argument comes from the addition of a presuppositionalist addendum wherein the debater subsequently states that this cause is necessarily a god. How did they get there? I could just as easily state that the cause is Steve Buscemi and, I would argue, that it’s every bit as valid.
William Lane Craig, the founder and most vile abuser of this argument, and people like Kirk Cameron make the unfounded leap to god (more specifically, the Christian god) without acknowledging – and, in fact, outright denying – that this leap places their argument squarely in the same bucket as that of Muslims, Hindus, Raelians, or Scientologists among others. Every single one of these people could make the same illogical assertion and claim proof for their beliefs while they run a victory lap around the stage. Even so, they’ve proven nothing.
The truth is, whether or not the universe has a cause or a purpose we cannot simply assert that we know what that cause or purpose is without having solid reasoning to back it up, no matter which cause or purpose you’re arguing. It’s perfectly OK to say that we don’t know whether the universe has a cause (in the sense that Craig intends). Admitting ignorance, in a lot of cases, is preferable and more virtuous than just making something up. Saying, “I don’t know but I’ll try to figure it out” is honest and shows a desire to learn. Saying, “If we don’t know, it has to be god” teaches us nothing, explains nothing, and displays an awe-inspiring intellectual laziness for which, in my opinion, Craig is famous.
Don’t be fooled by illogical arguments disguised as logical arguments. Think through what’s being said, evaluate the premises, weigh the conclusions, and think for yourself.