In our lessons on atheism and post-modernism, my Year 12 class has been looking at reasons for the rise of atheism, and one of these is the problem of evil. Put simply, this is difficulty of reconciling the evil and suffering we see around us with the religious claim that an all-powerful, all-loving God exists: if such a God really did exist, wouldn't he act to prevent evil?
Kevin Brown of the blog Diglotting has written this useful post on different theodicies, or religious attempts to resolve the problem of evil.
Of particular interest for looking at modern responses the problem of evil, is his outline of Jürgen Moltmann's theodicy, which arose from Moltmann's experience of the suffering which occurred during World War 2 (Moltmann was a soldier in the German army). Brown writes:
[I]nstead of focusing upon the traditional theodicy question of “Why does God allow evil”, Moltmann instead concentrates on a corollary: “Where is God in the midst of all this suffering?” He finds the answer in Jesus’ death cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15.34)...
Furthermore, in Moltmann’s theodicy, the cross is not just the suffering of the man Jesus, nor merely the ‘death of God’, but it is also death in God. God takes up suffering and death into himself and then overcomes it on Resurrection Sunday through the limitless divine life.