Ok- I have read and considered the above replies. I have also listened to Diana's lecture on the objections to the Cosmological Argument that was posted (thank you for sharing). I'm going to attempt to respond to all of the above without being too redundant. I apologize if it comes across as choppy. Haha. Here we go:
1) The Law of Cause and Effect does not state that "EVERYTHING must have a cause"..that is obviously self-destructive. It simply states that "every effect must have a cause" (which is really just a way to summarize the definitions of "cause" and "effect"). This is NOT based on inductive observation such as "everything I see has a cause and therefore everything must have a cause". Rather it is based on the logical meaning of "cause" and "effect". A cause is that which has an effect. An effect is that which has a cause. Everything that is in the class of an effect must have a cause.
2) As Rand, Diana, and many others rightly conclude, an ACTUAL infinite regress is impossible. I'm not saying that it's just hard to imagine an infinite regress. I'm saying that logically, it is impossible. There cannot be an actual infinite regress of causation.
3) Therefore there must be something that is an uncaused cause (a cause that is not also an effect); something that is self-sustaining/self-sufficient (NOT self-caused...that is also irrational!). As of right now in the argument, this COULD be "the Universe" or matter in general I suppose or even a blue marble! All that needs to be seen thus far is that there must logically BE an uncaused cause -regardless of what you want to say it is. When I said that this thing must in a sense "have the power of existence within itself" what I mean is that there must be something that simply exists (which means it IS part of existence)- but it must be special in the sense that it is uncaused/"necessary"/not contingent or dependent on anything else. It simply "is" and needs no causal explanation. Therefore no one (on EITHER side) can say "ah, but what caused that thing?" as if that destroys the argument. We are establishing here that there MUST be a thing which is uncaused and therefore cannot rationally have that question asked of it.
**At this point, if you disagree please specify. If not, than it has been established that there is an uncaused cause- If you agree thus far, please do not back peddle and deny this based on something you don't like in the following arguments. We have not established whether this uncaused cause is the universe or matter or a blue marble or God.. we have only established that it is logically necessary and therefore actual.**
Many people would be comfortable stopping the logical inquiry at this point and asserting that the uncaused cause is what ever happens to best suit their current/desired world view (Religionists would say "God", Atheists would say "Matter" or "The Universe" or "A Blue Marble" depending on their particular brand of atheism). However, I cannot consciously do that without violating my value for wanting to know with certainty what is actually true. Therefore, I press on and would encourage others to do so as well. If I did not, I feel that I would be guilty of evasion.
4) The uncaused cause began the chain of causation. Whether you want to say it "created other things" or "acted" or "exploded" or whatever, it "caused" an effect or multiple effects. I suppose it would be helpful to stick with "matter" or "the universe" for now and say that it did not remain static/ "as it was", but it acted and caused effects/"changes" in the form of the matter or the universe. However, if this thing is uncaused, what was the cause of it's acting/ causing or having an effect? Why did it cause an effect rather than remain static? It could not have done so accidentally for this implies that something outside of it acted upon it (caused it). This would say that the uncaused cause was caused to act (Law of Non-Contradiction). It also could not be some arbitrary "part" inside of it that acted upon the whole for we run into the same problem of an infinite regress of causation that is inward rather than outward. The only possibility is that the Uncaused Cause acted wholly of it's own accord in it's causation of effects. It must have purposefully caused/acted. It must have chosen to act. And therefore it must have all the faculties necessary for choice; consciousness (mind), preference (affections), and volition (will). At this point, if you want to still claim that it is the Universe or matter, or a blue marble, I suppose you could, but it would be a Universe, Matter, or Blue Marble, that has all the faculties of person-hood (consciousness, preference, and volition). However, it seems more appropriate to call it God since the traditional definition of God is the the ultimate personal being.
Notice I am not saying that the uncaused cause is solely consciousness (Rand would say that consciousness which is only conscious of itself is illogical)-- I am saying that it is an existent/"being" that is conscious not solely of it's own consciousness but of it's objective existence. I do not think this is any more illogical than it is for me to be conscious of my own existence.
**Once again, if you disagree at this point, please specify. If you agree, than it has been established that there is a "God" (or an ultimate being which is personal). No details have been established about this God YET and therefore it cannot be assumed that it conforms to any current particular view of God, but it's existence has been established so please do not back peddle beyond this if you disagree with further arguments. (Unless of course you realize a flaw in previous arguments).
I will not venture into details about God yet... I think the above is more than enough to chew on and debate for now.
As I said before, this is what I am currently convinced of because of the logical reasons I listed above. If I am wrong, I want to be proven AND convinced that I am wrong. So please, respond in accordance with that.
Quick "one-liner" attacks and scoffs are not helpful. Responses that honestly attempt to deal with what I mean by what I am saying and subsequently attempt to correct or critique are very helpful and anticipated.