The Problem of Evil is a powerful (I would say convincing) argument against the existence of God. For this reason, one frequently will see atheists challenge theists with it. What I often don’t see is atheists dealing with the consequences of the argument. If you argue that there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God, aren’t you committed to taking a rather bleak view of the world? Shouldn’t one conclude that the world is a bad place after accepting the argument from evil? If not, why not? How can there be enough suffering in the world to negate the idea of God but not enough to make the world a bad place? I suspect that most atheists deal with this issue the same way that most theists deal with the argument itself: they ignore it.
How do I deal with it you ask? Ok, even if you don’t ask I’ll still give an answer. Well, I can’t really give much in the way of an answer, because I don’t really have one. That’s probably why part of me can’t completely shake the idea of theism. Because of the suffering I see in the world, I want theism to be true even with all the logical difficulties that come with it. Theism provides the possibility for some recompense for the suffering in this world. Without that, I don’t see any realistic reaction to the problem of evil other than concluding that the world as a whole is a bad place. So for the time being, all I can do is hope that I am wrong about God.