When my wife and I first met, we were involved in ministry at a jail. One common themes I heard back then was the idea that the punishment didn’t fit the crime, complaints that other people had committed greater crimes, etc. In short, few people were willing to admit that they had received a just sentence, and to be fair, human justice is not infallible.
This is similar however to the complaints about suffering raised by atheists.
Atheists are regularly ready to make a similar argument, if God sends people to hell, or allows disasters, somehow that God would be unfair if he had the ability to prevent the disaster.
The problem is the same as the prisoners I noted earlier, in both cases, we have someone who is not innocent claiming that their punishment is excessive, this is precisely how the Bible presents mankind – as guilty and deserving of punishment.
Romans 5:12, among other passages, lays out the discussion, to wit, through one man, sin entered the world and all have sinned. While different Christian theologians and denominations will define how sin is passed from generation to generation differently, to be a Christian universally is to accept that sin does pass from generation. In the age-old discussion of whether man is basically evil or basically good, Christians are decidedly on the “man is basically evil side of the line.”
While atheists may reject this reasoning, the problem of evil is not a question of whether we like the answer, this would be the emotional problem of suffering we mentioned last time around, the question is if Christianity has a logically consistent answer to the problem, and if man is not innocent, then God, acting as a judge is behaving justly in allowing suffering.
For atheists then to actually have a point, they would either need to prove that mankind is not basically evil, or disprove Christianity itself, otherwise the case they raise is an instance of begging the question, because we must assume that Christianity is false to accept the Atheists point.