Some atheists believe that the problem of suffering is a devastating argument against belief in God. If there is a God, why does he allow so much suffering? Even Christians wrestle with these things.
The easiest response is with regards to human evil. God sees human freedom as valuable and the natural result is that some people will choose to do bad things. Most atheists do not try to argue against that one.
The harder response is what to do with natural suffering such as disasters and disease. Why does God allow such things? I do not want to make light of people’s suffering by giving easy answers. But I do want to look at this in perspective. Natural disasters do take place and they are horrible things. But where do most of the deaths and tragedies take place? Most often they are in the third world or in poorer areas of the western world. The reason for this is that due to poverty and corruption, third world nations are not prepared for disasters even if they are in areas prone to them. Houses are not built properly, warning systems are not in place and relief is not available. What if we put our financial, mental and time resources away from developing the next iPhone or other gadget and toward making sure that structures are in place to help nations prone to disasters and thus avoid at least the large scale of suffering?
What about diseases? Is this all God’s fault? Why are the cancer levels so high today as compared to a hundred years ago? What choices do we as a society make with regard to pollution, diet and habits that lead to this? Why do we allow AIDS to continue when if we as a society made the right choices it could be practically eliminated in a couple of generations? Why do we allow poor people, in whatever nation, go without medical care?
It is true that we wonder why God allows suffering. However, I suspect that God looks at us and wonders why we allow suffering. There is enough water, food, intelligence and financial resources to create a paradise on earth. Instead, because of our materialistic and selfish desires, there is suffering all around us. Instead of pointing our finger at God, perhaps we should point our finger at ourselves.