Let's put sports prayer to the test

Ok, at church on Sunday morning, pray for your team.

Then, report back here with the results.

Last week, I prayed for Baltimore to be crippled by injury, which worked, but none of them missed more than a few plays.

Tomorrow, I think I’m going to mix it up a little bit. I’m going to pray for the referees to blow a minimum of 3 crucial calls resulting in at least 13 points in Pittsburg’s favor.

Unfortunately, I think any initiative at praying for a specific result may be confounded by athletes who show up to play and deliver greater than 100%. I have seen quite a few performances in the 110%-120% range and on occasion as high as 200% (as testified to by a variety of sports experts and coaches). These athletes clearly distort any effort by the Almighty who established their baseline maximum potentials.

I’m trying to decide if the Almighty’s influence on the outcome of sporting events is confined to rewarding or punishing specific players (for instance, those who paint specific Bible references on their faces - sorry, Tim Tebow), or if He is attempting to beat the point spread.

As a parallel investigation to that suggested in the OP, can we commission a study to see if the number of loudly devout players on a team correlates with their winning percentage?

Since when did praying for bad luck to fall on others become a part of Christianity? Wishing bad luck on anybody is surely cursing them, and conrary to the Golden Rule - as ye would that men would do unto you, do ye also unto them in like manner…

You mean just like the other team is doing?

Does saying things like ‘Jesus Christ, tackle that asshole!’ count as a prayer? Cuz if so my neighbor prays a lot.

I’ve heard about (but do not have a cite handy, so it may not have actually existed) an actual scientific study that attempted to conduct a double blind test to the effectiveness of medical prayer by having groups of people pray for some patients (without their knowledge) and not pray for others, and see the results. This can’t be completely controlled because you can’t know who might be secretly praying for someone, I guess. Obviously the results were nothing. Duh. But I thought that might be relevant.

The way I look at it is that the Almighty likes gamblers. All real gamblers believe in God because it’s a great hedge. Athletes oftentimes have huge egos so not all of them are doing a lot of praying because they think they are God.

So the gamblers are praying their asses off and that’s where God is paying attention. God isn’t going to make a team win or lose but God might play around a bit with the point spread to reward the people that are showing the greatest adoration. That makes it tough to do a study on the issue.

How fast is this going to get moved to MPSIMS?

I believe what you are referring to is a comprehensive study on the effects of intercessory prayer on the health and recovery of 1,802 patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery in six different hospitals. The study, which cost $2.4 million, ran for almost a decade beginning in the late 90s and was directed by a cardiologist at the Harvard University Medical School, Dr. Herbert Benson, and published in the American Heart Journal. The prayer was done by various religious communities, both Catholic and Protestant, in the United States, who were evidently quite sincere in their beliefs.

For a good summary, see the article by Dr. Michael Shermer in *Skeptic *Magazine, Volume 12, no. 3, 2006, page 20.

The conclusion: Intercessory prayer evidently had NO effect on the state of health or the recovery of these patients.

Sorry, religious believers, but those are the facts. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

Awesome, thanks for the info.

Surely a benevolent, omnipotent God could arrange for *both *teams to win…

I realize this is more of a joke thread than a serious debate, but such a test would have many flaws, such as the lack of a control, uncontrolled anecdotal reporting, etc. etc.

A similar tongue-in-cheek investigation was done concerning the British Sovereigns and their families since tens of millions pray for their health and long life every Sunday. Yet, George the VI, the father of the present Queen, died at 57!

The funny thing about prayer is that if people get what they pray for, it “proves” in their minds that prayer works. When they do not get what they prayed for, it is because God had other intentions or another plan we do not understand. So the theory of prayer cannot be “falsified”. A theory that cannot be proven false under any circumstances is not a theory.

For example, what would falsify Evolution? As one scientist said: “Finding rabbit bones in the stomach of a dinosaur.”

Well, hell. I could put rabbit bones in the stomach of a dinosaur.

I’m not seeing a debate here. Moved to The Game Room.

Ok here you go.

I asked for the Colts to go undefeated again this week.

It was a small 30 second Prayer.

*Course I’m not a Christian, so don’t know if this really is a good data point.

Here, I’ll ask the Christian “God” to allow my Baltimore Ravens to win this week vs. GB. That’s a tougher task.

And I’ve asked Jesus/Mohammed the Prophet if either one of them would be willing to make the Patriots lose but to have them score plenty of field goals because I have the kicker on my Fantasy League.

All were quick 30 second prayers/requests, no amens though.

Ok, I’ll bite.

I just said a prayer that the Giants would beat the Cowboys today, with the additional promise of attending mass next weekend if my prayer is answered.

Hey, if it works, I’ll happily give up an hour each Sunday morning.

Exactly, that’s why we have to pray for pain on the opposite team, not good fortune on ours.

Well. That was unexpected.
Patriots lose 21-22 to Miami, in a game that I fully expected them to win in.

But my kicker only gets 3 points for the PATs.
So uh… boo?

But apparently Spite Prayers work!

And woOt! Colts Still unbeaten!

Huzzah! My prayers are still working.

Now to see if my Prayers to another God worked with the Ravens tonight…

Ok, I prayed for the Steelers to win (actually, for their opponents to lose) for 2 weeks in a row, and it didn’t work, and we have the health/prayer study as well.

The verdict is in: there is no God.

Up Next Week: Shiva.

You mean, one (even if very good) experiment settles it?