Sixth Message by Nine
Recall that the number was generated to pose the meaning of life, the universe and everything. And in one of the last episodes of the secular Guide, the question, in a vision, was put on a Scrabble board: "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?"
And you, silly, thought it was fifty-four? But don't you see? If the answer was already given, then it couldn't be fifty-four. If the answer was forty-two, and the question is six by nine, then the meaning of the whole thing is not the equation itself, isn't it? When did you start thinking that the answer would come down on the right-hand side of the equation? An equation (remember?) demonstrates only an equivalence, not a question and answer.
Didn't you suspect anything when a rather important question was put to a computer? By mice? Am I the only one who's whiffing something niffy here?
You seriously thought a creature -- rather, an artifact mind you -- could discern the reason underlying Creation? Or, to be more polite and correct, you really expected a transcendent response from a mathematical inquiry? You've read Bertrand, I'm sure, but you mean to tell me you still ignore Gödel -- who proved, as far as we green men can tell, that a mathematical system cannot refer, by itself, outside itself?
You may have noticed, even in the secular Guide, that I and Zarniwoop and the other editors weren't all that enthusiastic about the Deep Thought project. We had our own, more conservative and genial, tasks to perform. I happen to enjoy the charming and particular traditions of humans, and valued them all the more as they were slated to be leveled by Vogon civic planning -- an expressway known as the Galactic Nihilosurdway.
I like you, earthpeople, traditionalist that I am. And you should know something else:
I, Ford Prefect, am a theist. At least, I would like to be.
That is a harder thing to do than Pinocchio’s becoming a boy. I’m not real, for one thing. And another thing, it is even a longer stretch to become a real human from the status of a real thing, than it is to become a real thing from nothing.
You wouldn’t understand. You’ve grown up in a Universe completely surrounded by and penetrated with the Uncreated Light, the Energy of the Essence, the Incarnate Christological Grace of the Triune God. You can only imagine "not-God" (in a rather mentally ill idiom, I might add, the very fanciest of schizophrenias). You cannot ever, even in hell, experience real atheism.
I don’t get you, you silly skinflint angels. You know something by nature I cannot begin to pronounce, even in sub-lingual, pre-conscious thought. You know something at the base of your laughter, at the bedrock sense of your poetry, and at the profoundest warp and weave of your stories. You know it, tacitly, because you always have Jesus tapping your dexterous shoulder.
And you keep walking on, without turning around? I mean, here’s the joke of it all, and the joke’s on you, mate: here I am, a fiction, and while it's no skin off my nose if you take me for real or no, what I cannot ken for the life of me is that I can believe in the salvation of you, and you can’t.
What a curse you brought upon yourself! What pentagram did you scribe, and in what dark chamber? How did you go down to hear, and where did you draw near, that you heard before the lights went out, Vegna Medusa: sì’l farem di smalto!
Sorry, I, and all the wannabe believers in space, read Dante. It’s so affecting.
You don’t know it, but I would do anything to be able to pray. And so I came here, all this way, and I found not a house of prayer, but a den of thieves. Or a den of capitalists and wealth re-distributors. Same thing.
Here’s your problem, and it’s straight from someone who is a contributing editor to the secular Guide. And, I might add, from someone who knows how to keep clear of the Vogons.
Take it or leave it. It’s all the same to me.
The reason why you won’t believe in the old-fashioned God is because you can’t. You’ve been lobotomized.
You can’t believe in God, because you won’t believe that He would save you.
This seems clear to me, a silly little alien who traipses around the galaxy with a towel snapping you on the keister:
If you can believe that the God of the Universe would deign to save some skimpy one as you, then it shouldn’t be any trouble for you to believe the less difficult headbangers of an Eternal Triune God … or the Divine Person Who became Man … or the Virgin Birth (before, during and after, of course – if you believe before, than why scruple about after?) … or the Miracles of healing, walking on water, stilling the storm, calling putrefied friends out of a stinky tomb … or the suffering of God the Son on the Cross … or the physical Resurrection from the Dead, and the breaking of the hellish gates of brass, and the kicking of the enemy straight in the …?
Well, you get the point. You don’t disbelieve Christianity, or the One Apostolic Church because you’re too scientific. Heck, I’m an alien, and I’m a product of disbelief. I come from outer space, and I have Klaatu on my Blackberry. I know all about science. I’ve arrived from all your science fiction futures. I fancy that I am all your alternative histories, and all your Copenhagen dreams.
You disbelieve for one simple reason. You don’t believe in God simply because you can’t believe or won’t believe that that Someone would save someone like you. Or even touch you, or heal you. Or come into your house, or set up house in your heart.
I hope to God you find out soon what a smxtsppcfhkls you are. That, by the way, is my Betelgeusian-Hrung way of saying “Repent, the Vogons are coming.”
Or, better yet, the Kingdom is at hand. But only you could know that.
But what do I know? I do not speak of what I know. I speak, rather, of what I don’t but wish I could.