A lot of times, when it comes to topics of worldview, we try to make it purely intellectual.
But questions about God, religion, philosophy, and morality are rarely void of emotion.
"Why would a good God allow evil and suffering?” is a great example. This can actually be two very different questions.
In the last few years there have been several tornados wipe out cities next to my town.
In those kinds of situations, it will almost be asked: Why would God allow this to happen?
And in that moment, the question is not an intellectual one. They are not asking the general theological query of how there could be a good God with all the evil and suffering in the world. They are asking a personal question of why God would allow this specific event to happen to them.
Those are two completely different questions and require two completely different answers.
One requires a loving friend to stand by their side and reassure them of the love of God in a practical, relational way.
Words rarely answer this. This one is answered in time and relationships.
The other question requires a loving friend to have a conversation and reassure them of the love of God in a well reasoned response.
Emotions rarely answer this one. It’s answered in thoughtful and civil dialogue.
Both questions are important. And we need to be ready to give the proper response to each. But we need to know which one is which.
Normally this can happen by just asking some simple questions of your own. Questions like Why do you ask? and What do you mean by that? are really helpful. If you get to the bottom of why they are asking the question, you can normally tell which question it is.