Philosophers like to put the issue this way: it is irrational to believe that (a) God is all-powerful, (b) God is unconditionally good, and (c) Undeserved suffering exists in the world. You can build a credible faith on any two of these propositions, but not on all three.
For religious believers, the unsound proposition is (c). Some understand suffering to be unreal, something like an illusion. Others acknowledge it but question whether any of it is truly undeserved.
Most non-believers claim both (a) and (b) to be the real problems, precisely the beliefs which are so crucial for believers.
Is there any way out of this impasse, logically? I think so. For God to be God, God surely must be unconditionally good. But for God to have a part in the world at all, there has to be a limiting of God’s power. God can’t have all the power there is if other beings are not to have power, too.
And the power of those other beings includes the power to do things that a Supremely Perfect Being might not do or want done.
Well, there you have it, unbelievers. So why are you still arguing about religion?
Because logic doesn’t really get to the heart of genuine unbelief — or of belief either, for that matter. The issue of whether to believe or not believe is much deeper than logic can ever access all by itself.
Let’s set abstract philosophical statements about God to the side for a moment. The God of faith has to be talked about much more personally. For instance, by statements like this: If we believe in God with all our heart, God will give us what we really need in life.
The God of this statement is not just a Powerful and Perfect Being. The God of this statement is a Promise-Making Being. People lose faith in this kind of a God not on the basis of logical considerations, but on the basis of soaring expectations and searing disappointments.
Unbelief comes when our deepest yearnings go unfulfilled, after we have been told that we have every right to expect them to be brought to pass. This is really why, I think, people give up on God.
But the yearnings still remain, most especially for the power to believe that God still will not give up on us.