What does a Spiderist get out of it?
We -- Christians and non-Christians alike -- have been asked to discuss what we get out of our faith. Sounds like one of the more sensible ideas in this room lately....
So what DOES a Spiderist get out of it?
The knowledge that I'm not in this alone. All things are connected in an enormous webwork of relationships. I have MANY connections with my wife, now and across time. I am connected to Susan, and Alice, and Jim and Patrick at work; to the birds that come to my window for the birdseed, and the cats that sit by the window yearning for them. I am connected to my car; it does things for me, and the more I do for it, the longer it will continue to perform. The mitochondria in my cells go back to one woman in Africa, some 200,000 years ago; so do the mitochondria in your cells. The articles, stories, and books my wife and I write go out into the world; people read them, are affected by them, may remember them. I am a part of the world.
And when I die? Well, my body will be buried -- but it will still be part of the Web. Let's say (for the argument of the moment) that my consciousness remains, and can pay attention to what is happening to my body. Well, it'll start to rot, and that might not be too much fun; consider it the pangs of adolescence. But after I get used to that -- why, my bones will become part of the rocks. Hundreds of years from now, archaeologists may dig them up and puzzle over them; or again, the land may sink below the sea (there are sea-fossils underlying the Twin Cities, so it has happened before). Silt will rain down, the rocks will thicken; mountains may rise, and perhaps my skeleton will end up near the top of a new Everest.
My flesh will be eaten by worms, and they'll travel through the soil; they cultivate the land, add to its fertility. Their castings will be taken up by the roots of grasses and trees and flowers, as will their bodies when they die. Parts of me will whirl through the air as the little helicopters from maple trees; more of me will fly as the fluff of a dandelion. Cattle will graze on the grass, and my remnants will walk across the plains -- hopefully, in great herds; let's do this right. Birds will eat the seeds, and I will fly.
Doesn't that sound like an interesting bunch of things to happen? Wouldn't it be fun to participate, once you got past the first jolts? I think we could find worse heavens.
And if it turns out we don't have souls, and I don't get to watch -- well, too bad, but it is STILL a nice thing to happen. I'm not so hung up on my own importance that I'm gonna decide the whole thing's gone sour just because I don't get to play.