The Snag in Stupid Questions

It’s the same old lie. And it leads to the same old deathful dead end. Leave the good, time-tested way, and there’s a better path just over there. But there is no life, there is no story, apart from our Creator. So is it worth it? To get married? To follow Jesus? The answer is yes — 

Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with ever fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

-C.S. Lewis

Recently I saw someone on social media putting the question to their followers, “Is it worth getting married?” Not, should I get married. Not, is it a good thing to get married. But is it worth getting married? In other words, will entering into the institution of marriage result in a net gain for my life? Will submitting to the constraints of monogamy pay off in the end? Will marriage help actualize my potential? Will it benefit me financially? Will it boost my instagram followers?

And it’s not just marriage, either. Lately it seems like many people are asking questions about things that used to just be common sense. “Is it worth it to tell the truth?” “Is it worth it to work hard?” “Is it worth it to have kids?” “Is it worth it to join a church?” “Is it worth it to follow Jesus?”

As Christians, it’s true that we should have an answer ready for anyone who asks. But it’s also true that, as Rosaria Butterfield observed, “It’s impossible to give a good answer to a bad question.” And as it happens, the “Is it worth it?” line of questions happen to be among those which are uniformly bad. Not because it’s wrong to want good reasons before making a decision. But because the questions themselves demonstrate a critical blindness to the story we find ourselves in.

The Story We Find Ourselves In

Not only are stories important; they’re also inevitable. Every single person lives according to the story they believe themselves to be in. They are the means by which we organize, interpret, and respond to reality. “You are enough.” “Follow your heart.” “Nothing means anything.” “You only live once.” “C.R.E.A.M.” All of these are examples of stories — albeit little shriveled ones — which will generally persuade out decisions.

Except when we need to call in the advisory board at Meta Platforms Inc., of course.

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