The Problem of Evil is one of the most rational and obvious objections to religious belief systems one can have. It also happens to be the best argument against the existence of God. And yet, defenders of the faith have used this deadly theological weakness as a cornerstone of faith. The weakness (of course) is the question of how a “good God” could allow suffering and evil into the world? This question is specifically dealt with, if unsatisfactory, in the Old Testament book of Job, where Job wants an answer to why God singled him out for undeserved suffering. Does God show to Job that the cause of his suffering was originally a bar bet with Satan? No, God dissembles and puts on a great show of force demonstration how great He is while claiming that questions are not allowed and one should just simply have faith – which completely evades the question of why innocence suffers. Jesus is the Christian attempt to exploit suffering as a necessary act that grants reconciliation with God and entrance into Heaven. The writer(s) who wrote under the name of “Paul” also appealed to the suffering of Christ, the obedient slave of God, unto his death, providing the West with the template of acceptance of suffering as a consequence of God’s infinite wisdom.
But there is that nagging problem that the religionists can’t satisfactory shake off. When the Bible asserts that God’s creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:31), it sure as hell doesn’t seem that way. We all live under the “curse of God,” according to the Garden of Eden myth, presumably for eternity, given by an insanely enraged God who didn’t know how to forgive. Not only is the first human couple cursed “above all animals,” but God also curses the earth to give up nothing without pain and toil. Such are the ways of the ancient tribal god of the Hebrews. Yahweh has cursed His creation to suffer and then demands His creation to be “obedient.”
There is something tragically unfair about this mythic scenario. If nobody else but God created everything, what about that ol’ talking serpent that just happened to be “more crafty” than any other being God created? God does not take responsibility for that and just pulls rank and orders everyone out of Paradise and into a cursed world. But Yahweh, His ministers always have told us, is “Love” or “All-Loving” perfect and omnipotent. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. The theologians find themselves painted into an uncomfortable corner.
Enter “Theodicy” – from the Greek theos (God) and dike (righteous) – a term invented by the Christian rationalist and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646-1716) – which attempts to justify or defend God’s relation with the problem of evil by answering the following question, commonly built upon these assumptions:
God is all good and all powerful (and, therefore, all knowing).
The universe/creation was made by God and/or exists in a contingent relationship to God.
Evil exists in the world. Why?
Witness how religions use the greatest argument against itself to its advantage. They simply claim that all suffering as an essential “learning tool.” Suffering is not a consequence, but a “necessity,” and here religion and spirituality justify the existence of abuse without having any reason to end it at all. How awesome is that? They believe ‘God’ or ‘Source’ placed it there for ‘learning lessons’ needed for ‘spiritual evolution’ and for establishing ‘faith.’ And yet, they do not see it as the point that should open their eyes to the obvious lie. If “God” and his buddies all implore us to stand against evil, why did God place it here in the first place? It’s like a parent setting the next-door neighbor’s house on fire and then telling his family that it’s their duty to save the occupants inside or just let them burn inside the blazing structure. Would that be a sinister act by a mad man, or the actions of an all-perfect, loving adult? Apologists for the faith have resorted to all kinds of logical fallacies in twisting obvious malevolence that causes suffering in the world as “lessons learned the hard way,” or as “trials” sent by an invisible, wholly transcendent “God” to mold a being’s mind into a “faithful,” believing slave.
The modern Christian apologist for the faith C.S. Lewis was very crafty himself at presenting questionable premises to build rational structures upon. In his seminal work, The Problem of Pain, Lewis explains that suffering exists because of the free wills involved, and if God removed or excluded suffering, He would have “excluded life itself.”
Really? Without suffering life would be “excluded?” How did Lewis come to such a stretch? Lewis could only present such a ludicrous assertion within the confines of the accepted premise that God is “good” (faith). It is not logical to state that free wills who cause evil is the only condition that Life could exist within. As an apologist, Lewis was forced to work within the framework of his faith, and that’s why he had no choice but to contort himself into convoluted, pretzel-logic positions. Like this one:
‘The world is a dance in which good, descending from God, is disturbed by evil arising from the creatures, and the resulting conflict is resolved by God’s own assumption of the suffering nature which evil produces. The doctrine of the Fall asserts that the evil which thus makes the fuel or raw material of the second and more complex kind of good is not God’s contribution but man’s.”
When did C.S. Lewis become privy to “God’s own assumption?” Did God tell these things to Lewis, or did he just dream them up on his own? It’s an interesting flowchart, however, as Lewis constructs a curious diagram of the “good” cascading down from Heaven only to have it “disturbed” by evil “creatures.” It wasn’t Man that took Lewis’ wife. Hadn’t Lewis prayed to God to make her well, and didn’t she enter a remission? And wasn’t after that promising rebound, didn’t his wife die shortly afterwards, anyway. In Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed, Lewis at one point in his bereavement rightly considers God as a “Cosmic Sadist.” This embarrassment of Lewis’ a brief loss of faith is usually glossed over by Lewis’ followers as a novel convention of someone struggling and not the way Lewis actually felt. I don’t buy that. Lewis’ grief over his wife was notoriously deep, and such questions would naturally arise. Lewis is more honest in dealing with his brief embrace of Gnostic Maltheism in this excerpt:
“No, my real fear is not materialism. If it were true, we–or what we mistake for ‘we’–could get out from under the harrow. An overdose of sleeping pills would do it. I am more afraid that we are really rats in a trap. Or, worse still, rats in a laboratory. Someone said, I believe, ‘God always geometrizes.’ Supposing the truth were ‘God always vivisects’?” 
Indeed. What if God is not “All-Loving,” but rather a sinister Cosmic Sadist who derives pleasure from the suffering of His creatures? Would anyone know the difference?
Returning to Lewis’ appeal to the Fall and the Adam and Eve myth quoted above as some sort of corroborating evidence of God’s benevolence is not such a good idea, because it forces Lewis into supporting his Christian speculations with more speculations, with the foundational premise and starting point based on acceptance the what is said in the bible is “true.” Lewis’ optimistic view of the goodness of God is neither defensible or all-encompassing, for an alternative explanation of the world as “a dance” of good and evil could simply be that Evil is far stronger than the good, which would suit a Cosmic Sadist just fine.
Another Christian champion who tried to gild the theodical lilly was Paul Tillich, and he claimed that the only acceptable answers to the question of suffering was… wait for it… prayer and faith. If your loved one gets abducted by a cult, pray about it and have faith. This seemingly nonsensical, magical-thinking approach has been a New Age staple ever since, with Eckhart Tolle and others peddling (for a price) the same damn nonsense to the gullible. Amazingly, Tillich speculated that petitioning the Lord with prayer influences God to intervene into the world and place the petitioner into a participatory role in making the world into a better place. Tillich takes the position that existence is grounded into the “being” of God. This is all well and good if vain speculating of religious beliefs is what you’re into.
Karl Barth, another modern theologian had an even more terse perspective as to the problem of evil, and like Yahweh in the Book of Job, he claimed that was anyone posed such a question was in danger of judgment! Rejecting theodicy, Barth no doubt had seen the inadequacy of his liberal Christian faith dealing with the problem of evil, and preferred to be up front about. Suffering and evil were the cards humanity had drawn. Deal. Besides, Barth explained that God was “wholly other” (echoing Marcion) and could not be comprehended by limited, earthbound creatures, it was useless for theologians to speculate. [3 ] However, “prayer and faith” doesn’t seem to be effective against evil, either. Barth didn’t realize he was committing the same offense with his own Christian speculations about prayer and faith.
Where does that leave us? This ‘necessity of suffering’ is how religion and spirituality justify the existence of abuse without having any reason to end it for all, since they believe ‘God’ or ‘Source’ placed it there for ‘learning lessons’ needed for ‘spiritual evolution.’ What these religionists fail to grasp is that evil does not need “God” to define itself. However, religion does need “God” to explain itself, which is why Religion have constructed as many doctrines and tenets and explanations as there are voices to explain them. They all fail, because the speculative nature of the explanation, which produces a “explanation gap” about the thing being explained. Speculating about the nature of reality is something that is never going to be absolutely true or free from error. By definition, a speculation can only be a conjecture about a subject without firm evidence. Same as Faith. We are seemingly forever cursed with having to deal with people will assert their speculation as “truth” when all they are doing is jumping through mental hoops. The problem of Evil should be enough to dissuade anyone from belief in an all-good, omnipotent and benevolent “God.” But it is to our detriment that it’s not. Suffering is instead seen as a fulfillment unto death; the ultimate fulfillment of a Christian life – a suffering that is promised to be justified after you die. But you have to die first. How does that justify faith?
 Phil. .12; 2 Cor. 22.7; 12.21
 A Grief Observed By C.S. Lewis, HarperOne. 2001
 Karl Barth: theologian of Christian witness By Joseph L. Mangina, Westminister John Knox Press. 2004