I don’t follow Christ because he promises abundance here or later. I follow Him because I accepted His call to follow Him. I don’t expect anything out of the deal except the cross to bear which is required of His disciples.
Efficiency arguments in favor of Christianity are devoid of virtue.
If it turns out that there are favorable utilitarian consequences to following Christ these are mere fringe benefits and they are not guaranteed.
When we tell kids to abstain from premarital sex because it keeps them safe from STDs and unwanted pregnancy we destroy the celebration and sacrament of sex and construct an artificial and easily undermined reason for abstinence.
If we rather declare that we abstain in order to demonstrate the peculiar ethic given to us by Christ, and in recognition of the symbol that sex is, a reflection of the relationship between Christ and ourselves, then every decision to abstain becomes pregnant with meaning. The decision says:
1. I am a follower of Christ and I hold myself to a higher ethic than the rest of the world, and
2. Sex is a symbol of Christ’s selfless love for me and my love for Him, so I won’t contaminate that image by treating sex casually.
One of the consequences of choosing such an ethic may be a marriage with less baggage than otherwise might have been the case. It may prove to be more healthy, and conducive to trust. But these are not necessarily the case, and we set ourselves up for disappointment if we try to build a consequentialist argument for choosing the Christian ethic.