A strategic response
Consider how much suffering there is in the world. If a truly good God exists, wouldn’t he have ensured there be a lot less or none at all?
Did you know that according to Barna Research, this is the greatest obstacle to faith for Millennials and Generation Z? (See chart below.)
So your friends will raise this objection and when one does, are you “prepared to give an answer” (1 Pet 3:15)? Here is one easily memorable strategy for when that time comes.
If someone raises the problem of suffering:
Step 1: RECOGNIZE IT. Remember as quickly as possible that their argument depends on what philosophers call a “Noseeum inference,” i.e. they infer that no “greater goods” exists to justify God’s allowing child leukemia etc., simply on the basis of “no-seeing” any greater goods! However, in the heat of a conversation, they won’t spell out their assumption for you. So, you HAVE to remember it on your own. (Note: A “noseeum” is a mosquito that is so small that you can’t infer there are none in your camping tent just because you can’t see any.)
Step 2: CALL IT. So much of how a conversation goes depends on how it is framed. Simply saying, “Hey, that’s a Noseeum inference” sets you up to metaphorically get in the comfortable dialogue hammock because it rightly sets you up for emphasizing that the critic has the burden of proof here.
Step 3: ENJOY IT. Now sit in the hammock and make the critic do his very hard work! “Hey, that’s a noseeum inference You’re inferring that no greater goods exist because you don’t see them. But (and this is step 3), WHY THINK WE’D SEE’UM?” i.e. “Mr. Critic, why think that we’d be able to easily see those greater goods if they were there?” He is the one making a bold Noseeum inference!