I've been reading lots of papers recently based around 'the Argument from Evil', its replies, the theodices and their objections. I'm agnostic but have always thought that the best reason for why non-human animals and children suffer in such terrible ways is because if they didn't we wouldn't question the existence of God.
If we didn't have arguments based around a young fawn dying a slow, agonizing death in the forest then the Argument from Evil wouldn't be as effective as it is. We could come up with answers based on redemption from sin and so forth. The same can be said for AIDS, the plague, Auschwitz, whatever. The notion of mystery on the issue and freedom of thought that goes with it is in my mind one of our greatest gifts. If we didn't have these terrors then a beautiful sunset or a kind gesture or the stars would be enough to convince most of us (or at least a fair few of us) that there must be some kind of God.
This doesn't seem to be covered by any of the theodices; the closest I can think of would be based on free will.
I have two questions based on this:
Firstly, do you know of anybody who has written along these lines?
Secondly, can you think of any objections? The only one I can think of is why would God let the fawn suffer for 6 days in torture rather than 5. Surely they would both force anybody to question their belief.
(Any answer to that objection would be nice as well.)
Sorry this is a long one. Love the site. =)