I don’t doubt that challenges are important and maybe even necessary in our lives, and true also that challenges involve frustration and suffering, in some cases. And I suppose you can say that meeting challenges helps to build character. (They surely are conditions for some of our greatest art!) But tell me, what character is built for the millions whose lives were cut short by the holocaust, by total war, by early deaths due to preventable disease? Is this the only way your God can “build character”?
Regardless of whether we ask about origin or justification of belief, there aren’t any justifiable grounds for the view that only the theological problem of evil stands behind the atheist’s denial of the reality of a deity.
Tolstoy’s short story — “How much land does a man need?” — is a religious-morality tale which can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but which seems primarily concerned with the destructive consequences of human ambition.
Many studies of the philosophy of religion include the “problem of evil,” which can be treated either as an intellectual problem, one which raises logical and epistemic issues, or as an existential problem of human tragedy. Philosophers and theologians take on the challenge of trying to show that one can consistently affirm God’s existence and the fact of evil in the world. But the intellectual problem arises from the “existential problem”, one concerning human experience of suffering and evil, and human attempts to make sense of such suffering and evil