How can God allow evil?

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The world is full of war, starvation, racial prejudice, death, political dishonesty, etc, etc. How could a good god have created a world that is in such a mess? Doesn’t this indicate that there is no god?

This is generally accepted as the strongest argument against the existence of the christian God. Responding to it raises several questions:

  1. Is it impossible to have freedom of choice without the possibility of evil?
  2. Is pain inevitable in a physical world?
  3. Why are most people happy despite the suffering in the world?
  4. Where does our moral judgment of suffering come from?
  5. Even if suffering is an inevitable by-product of good things, couldn't God have limited the extent of evil a little more?

It is hard to escape the feeling that something is wrong with the world, but these questions take a some of the sting out of the argument