The short answer to the question of why evil exists in the world is – humans are created with free will. Created in the image and likeness of God we have minds to reason with, hearts to love with, and the freedom to choose how we act.
Respecting the free will of each person is to respect their inherent dignity as humans. We are rightly horrified at any form of coercion or force imposed by governments on their people. We do not believe that society or religion has the right to dictate how many children we may have, what faith or beliefs we adhere to, what clothes we can wear, or what we can think or say. We uphold the right to freedom with a passion.
But we also know the gift of free will can be twisted and perverted to serve ourselves with no regard for the good of others. We have the freedom to amass wealth, with no regard to the massive poverty around us. We have the freedom to gain and hoard power, while denying the rights of others. We have the freedom to abuse our bodies, believing it is no business but our own. We have the freedom to inflict pain, suffering, and even death on our sisters and brothers.
We can also deny our own free will by refusing to take responsibility for our own lives. Yes, evil happens to us that we have no control over. But there comes a time when we need to stand up and do something about it. We need to reject the victim mentality of wallowing in self-pity and pointing the finger of blame. We need to reclaim the dignity that was taken away from us, by replacing powerlessness with empowerment. We have to embrace our free will and stand up and fight against the evil and injustice that hurt us and continues to hurt others.
The gift of free will should fill us with awe, for its power can be both awesome, and awful.