Levi is experimenting to find out if faith is enough to build a well-rounded personality or if the certainty of an afterlife would be better. The story alternates Levi’s point of view with Carol’s and is an interesting meditation on a philosophical and religious issue.
Other stories though - "Mama" and "The Mogul's Wife" - are close to perfect in the way they provide enough detail so you understand the world of the story, and why the characters act as they do. Both these stories and "Fleshsmith" also describe intriguing possible future/alternative worlds.
the story continues by revealing that Ongar has been tied to a stake facing the tower that he has helped create, his grand masterpiece, which is now being built in ramshackle fashion by an inept overseer.