This is based heavily on the following video:
When I showed this video to a Christian who was trying to re-convert me, he asked, “Is not being able to open a peanut butter jar a violation of free will?”
Here’s the difference between the questions “Is rape a violation of free will?” and “Is not being able to open a peanut butter jar a violation of free will?”: the first question necessarily deals with at least two agents, while the second deals with only one. A peanut butter jar is incapable of acting under its own agency and therefore cannot violate free will; a rapist is acting under his own agency and necessarily asserting his will over that of his victim. How is that better than god asserting his will over that of the rapist?
Further, how is stopping a child from dying of cancer a violation of free will? Is the will of the cancer cells important? Is there any person, alive or dead, anywhere who wants or has ever wanted children to die of cancer?
Here’s the thing: if all suffering everywhere had always been the result of agency, perhaps the free will argument would have a leg to stand on. But this is simply untrue. Besides, there is at least one story in the Bible where Jesus specifically acted to save the life of a woman about to be killed (John 8:1-11).
If you truly believe, as a Christian, that god does not stop rape and murder due to free will, isn’t it only consistent to believe that if Jesus were around today and saw an act of rape taking place, he would do nothing to stop the rapist?
Do you think the Jesus of the Gospels would refuse to act to save a victim of rape or murder if he saw it happening in the streets of Jerusalem?
If not, maybe you should rethink the free will defense against the problem of evil, because if an omnipresent, omnipotent god exists, he certainly has no problem allowing rape and murder when it happens in his presence.