This argument is often used by religious preachers to explain why God’s morality is strong and has nothing to do with the suffering we see in our world.
The story goes like this: A little boy enters an operating room in a hospital, in the midst of a complex operation. He sees people with masks cut into the flesh of a living person. As far as the little boy is concerned – they are killing a person lying helpless on the bed. However, we know it’s quite the opposite – they are saving the life of the patient.
The analogy is clear: The surgeons symbolize God. The patient symbolizes a person who suffers in spite of not sinning. The little boy is the non-believer who allegedly misses the big picture, hence judges it wrongly.
— * — * —
A closer look at the story clarifies why this is not a true analogy. In contrast with the characteristics associated with God – the masked surgeons are NOT omnipotent. In practice, if they could, they would avoid cutting into the flesh and cure the patient immediately, in a more pleasant way. Actually they would have prevented his or her illness to begin with. The doctors also do not control the little boy’s perception. If they could control it, they would make him understand the good things they do.