This is insightful and true, if what you mean by “exists” is “exists of itself”.
For a carpenter can build a chair, but the chair does not exist of itself: it can be disassembled into a pile of wood, which will no longer be a chair.
I would like to share a line of reasoning about existence.
1. Nothing can come from "total nothingness"
2. But there is not “total nothingness” now
3. Therefore, there must have never actually been “total nothingness”
And as a corollary,
4. Therefore, there must have actually always been “something”
At this point, we do not know what this “something” is, except that it must have actually always been.
5. But there is something now that has not always been
6. Therefore, there must be a distinction between something that must have actually always been, and something that has not always been
By now we can see that it is logical, sensible, and reasonable that there is more to “existence” than first meets the eye. We can see “something” that was not always here before. Our own being changes over time, and new people are being born every day.
7. But something that has not always been cannot begin to be something from nothing
8. Therefore, something that has not always been began from something that already was
This makes sense. For example, we bake bread from flour, water, yeast, and heat. The bread then exists, but was dependent on the pre-existence of materials and agents of change.
But the ingredients themselves had not always been. Flour grew from the ground as wheat, and needed water to grow. Water itself is a collection of molecules made up of atoms. The atoms have to be combined in a special way to act like water. Atoms themselves are made of components that had to be combined in a special way. And those atomic components are themselves considered to consist of smaller ones called quarks.
And yet there is something at some level “that always was”, and in which true existence inheres. The composed things we witness in nature do not exist of themselves, but they are not totally nothing, either. This gives us insight into the issue of existence, and is something I think is exciting to contemplate! It is as if we can really experience the somethingness that always was, even if it is only through the veil of the nature in and around us.
9. Therefore there are three types of things:
*] something that must have actually always been
*] something that has not always been:
(that began directly from something that must have actually always been)
*] something that has not always been:
(that began from something else that has not always been)
So using logic, natural sense, and human reason, one can safely conclude that there is a sort of hierarchy in the existence of things that somehow are. This is almost as far as one can get to being certain about it: we naturally know there is an eternal existence (existing of itself) that is the ultimate cause of temporal existence (existing without itself), and that temporal existences can somehow be a secondary cause to other temporal existences.
It should be noted that one can make a number of additional logical conclusions.
But we don’t thereby know the eternal existence or even all the temporal existences. Through natural science, we are learning much more about temporal existences and their other temporal “causers”, but it is limited to materials measurable by other materials, and thus can not and will not consider anything else.
Therefore, any discussion with an atheist discounting faith can not go any further than the above demonstration of an eternal “something” that must have been the ultimate cause of all things we can actually recognize in life. But it suffices to show that being an atheist is an untenable, illogical, nonsensicle, and unreasonable position to hold. The only question is how or if we are going to relate to this eternally existing “something”, which is certainly the ultimate source of all nature and our very conscousness.