You can substitute anything, a wrench, the Winslow, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a “special computer” in place of your "god" in your logical argument and it still makes the same amount of sense. Therefore, your “argument” for God fails.
This claim from atheists is an attempt to conflate “God” with ANY other arbitrary imaginary thing. What is implicit in this retort from atheists is that the cosmological argument is made out of ignorance and therefore ANY arbitrary imaginary thing can be substituted in place of “God” to plug that ignorance. But the cosmological argument is NOT made out of ignorance; rather, it is a logical inference to what Aristotle described as The Unmoved Mover. Allow me to clarify before moving on.
There are at least 3 different ways people have thought about “God”. There may be more, but I will focus on the 3 major ways (A,B, and C).
A. When civilizations didn’t understand how a NATURAL phenomenon worked (fire, lightning, rain, fertility, etc.) they attributed the NATURAL phenomenon to a “god”. These are the “gods of the gaps” that many atheists ignorantly assume is the type of god theists believe in today, or they purposefully misrepresent our view to make it look as if our view should be dismissed as irrelevant just as all the other pagan gods of the gaps are. These gods were posited through IGNORANCE.
B. This is Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover. While Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Deists all differ in the specific details (revelation, salvation, morality, etc.) and attributes of the Unmoved Mover, they are in agreement with an UNCAUSED CAUSE of the universe that is BEYOND/TRANSCENDS the universe (time, space, and matter). In short we have a common denominator here with Aristotle in his description that is consistent with a MONOTHEISTIC “God.” This God is an inference to the best explanation of WHAT WE KNOW philosophically.
C. This is the Trinitarian view of God (i.e. the Christian God of the Bible). This God is reasoned to through WHAT WE KNOW philosophically (this God is consistent with B.) plus WHAT WE KNOW historically (the fulfilled prophecies, life, death, resurrection of Jesus, and origin of the Christian faith), plus WHAT WE KNOW theologically (the theological significance of The Trinity--see "Philosophical problem of Unitarianism"), plus WHAT WE KNOW through our personal experience with the Holy Spirit.
The cosmological argument is NOT an argument for C. It is an argument for B. But atheists treat the argument as if it’s an argument for C, and then they conflate C with A. They respond with things like, “But this doesn’t prove YOUR god.” Notice the emphasis on the word “YOUR”. The argument was never intended to argue for the Trinitarian view of God (the Christian God of the Bible). The argument is intended to argue for B. Why are we arguing for B and not C? Because B is like algebra and C is like calculus. It will be pointless to try to talk calculus with someone who rejects algebra. One needs to understand and accept the laws of algebra before you can talk calculus with them.
Now let’s plug in the arbitrary imaginary “gods” atheists do and see if they work.
(This is the actual attempt from an atheist to conflate the cosmological argument for God with his cosmological argument for “the Winslow”)
P1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
P2: If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is the Winslow.
P3: The universe exists.
P4: Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).
C: Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is the Winslow (from 2, 4).
The Winslow measures 66 centimeters in length and therefore does not work the way God works because the Winslow is spatial. Additionally, the Winslow has the physical characteristics of a reptile and therefore does not work the way God works because the Winslow is physical/material. The Flying Spaghetti Monster, celestial tea pot, or any other arbitrary imaginary thing that has NATURAL attributes does not cohere with what we would logically expect for the cause of the natural world (i.e. all time, space, and matter). In short, if the arbitrary substitute is subject to time, space, and matter, then it is impossible for the thing to be the ORIGINATOR of time, space, and matter. At this point the atheist engages in childish word games to shave off the NATURAL ATTRIBUTES that eliminate their substitute from contention. “Oh but it’s a special Flying Spaghetti Monster that exists timelessly, and is immaterial...” They keep going on and on until they get to a description so close to the monotheistic God we are arguing for, that it eventually becomes a distinction without a difference.
Lewis Wolpert tried this tactic on William Lane Craig, but Craig rightly pointed out that the description for this “special computer’ is starting to sound a lot like…”GOD!”
I have provided sufficient reasoning above to show the absurdity of this supposed rebuttal from atheists. If it is still not crystal clear how absurd this retort is from atheists please continue reading below. It may seem exhaustive and even redundant at times, but I have heard enough atheists spout this nonsense and it is time to squash this once and for all.
Think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause CANNOT be itself. When we say the universe cannot cause itself we mean all of what makes up the universe (time, space, and matter) cannot cause itself; therefore, the attributes of the CAUSE of time, space, and matter must TRANSCEND time, space, and matter.
Something cannot cause itself. Therefore, if the things atheists attempt to replace God with (as the cause of time, space, and matter) CANNOT be described WITHOUT the properties of time, space, and matter, then the replacement doesn’t work because it is logically impossible.
I cannot cause myself (I can't be my own father). I don't need to "prove" this to a reasonable person because a reasonable person can see the impossibility of that. Again, something cannot cause itself. Therefore, the ORIGINATOR of space cannot itself be spatial, the ORIGINATOR of time must be beyond time (timeless), and the ORIGINATOR of matter must be non-physical.
For atheists to ask why the cause of the universe (which includes physical matter) cannot be physical (like the flying spaghetti monster, the celestial teapot, the Winslow, the special computer, etc.) is about as sensible as Maury Povich asking a mother on his show (who is trying to determine the father/co-cause of her child) how she doesn't know the child is not the father. If Maury Povich seriously suggested that, reporters all over would rightly be questioning his sanity. And yet somehow this same type of nonsense passes as intellectualism in the new atheist camp. If anyone has gotten this far and still wants to plug arbitrary things with NATURAL characteristics as an explanation for the NATURAL world then chances are they are more concerned with defending a worldview that allows them to be their own god than actually arriving at the truth of the cause of the universe.