I disagree with the first point of this comment (the “problem of evil isn’t an argument against or for religion”) directed at the “Design of Christianity” series of videos created by myself and Andrea Roussow for Desteni TV. The problem of evil is indeed the raison d’être’ of religion, especially the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. God is the salvation from evil in the world. Without the existence or subject of evil, theology would not exist. Obviously, a theist does not need a God to explain evil in the world. But there are three ingredients available for solid, theological constructions: God, evil and free will.
It may be strange to see free will casted as a “theological” argument, but as such, but without it, the Church would have no compelling reason for people to join it. Evil exists, according to Christian theology, because human beings have an evil nature, but can choose to be “saved” or “redeemed” through the acceptance of a set of beliefs. Choice, “God” and the existence of evil, are the three most persuasive points religion offers people, and if one takes any of the three points away, them the theological construct collapses. You will either miss the omnipotent authority the religion appeals to, or the magic bullet of “choice” which makes such an appeal meaningful, or give a reason why should continue to live in a brutal, compassionless world filled with cruel, compassionless people.
To the point “Gorzakk” gives about that our claim of a non-existence of God must equal the premise of the nonexistence of evil is pure intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind, because we obviously do not need a “God” to explain the existence of evil, for as “Gorzakk” plainly states, evil “begins and ends” with human activity, which we agree, as we can see the evidence of evil all around us in the world, while “God” exists on a platform of hope, belief and faith. The reality of evil is not in question, as it exists for the atheist and the believer alike. I would say this: that we say there is something wrong with the religious belief system if it such a house of cards that can be taken apart so easily.