(i) that the problem of evil he says he "prefers" is the logical problem, not the evidential problem. I am not suprised he prefers that version, as it is much, much easier to deal with. See my entry on Augustine, Sam , for more on this. It's not so hard to explain why God had to put some suffering in the world. The hard thing to do (impossible, I'd say) as show that there is not, and has never been, even one ounce of unecessary suffering. Ever. Sam, we atheists generally use the evidential problem as an argument against belief in God (certainly it's the one I use), so make sure that's the one you discuss, not the much easier logical problem (which I am sure you'd prefer to discuss).
(ii) "As I see it the problem of evil is much more about how to live in the face of suffering." We all face the problem of how to deal with suffering. Call that a "problem of evil" if you like. But it's not the problem we are discussing - the one which, I think, is actually fatal to your belief system because it is overwhelming evidence against it. Again, I am not surprised you prefer to discuss an entirely different problem.
Whether or not belief in God helps us cope is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is true. The evidential problem of evil establishes, pretty conclusively, that it is not true. By talking about the problem of coping you are, as has already been pointed out, simply changing the subject.
(iii) In a comment, though, you make a different move: suggesting "good" is used differently re God (presumably, a way in which giving babies cancer, burying thousands of children alive, causing unimaginable horror and suffering on a regular basis counts as "good").
Well, we can do the God of Eth switcherooo on that too. Imagine someone defending belief in an evil God (see The God of Eth, left) against the problem of good by saying, 'Well as applied to evil God, "evil" means something different (indeed, his making love and laughter and rainbows all comes out as "evil").
You'd laugh, right?