Thursday, March 20, 2014

Counting the Sunken Costs

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace."  - Luke 14:28-32
But the foundation was good...unlike Christianity
The Lucan Jesus makes a valid point here (although it doesn't really work within his larger point, but that's another story altogether). Before beginning an endeavor it is a good idea to perform an assessment and reasonably estimate whether or not you have the resources and ability to see it through. But what if you've already started building the tower and you realize it's pointless and a foolish waste of time? What if you've already attacked that king and now you realize that not only are you fighting a losing battle, but you're on the wrong side? Do you continue building? Do you keep fighting? Do you count the sunken costs? 

After announcing my departure from Christianity a pastor remarked to me that he wouldn't be so quick to cast off a faith that he had spent over twenty years actively involved in without seriously examining "the most recent scholarship" produced by people within his particular iteration of Christianity. This was part of a pitch to stall and get me to invest incalculable time going through what turned out to be a ton of additional theological and apologetic material, or as he put it “enough reading for a semester at RTS [Reformed Theological Seminary].”