Would it be a sin to empirically test the existence of God?

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by Applepocalypse:

Do a simple experiment with a prayer condition and no prayer condition, ultimately saying what the probability that things happened by chance alone, not related to the prayer. If that probability is low then the logical conclusion is that the isolated variable was prayer.
We can also further isolate the groups into sickness, objects and events. Because I have heard (I’ll have to dig them up) of studies that did find prayer healed the sick quicker than not prayed-for groups. However some have disputed that as electromagnetic fields and positive energy (dotdotdot).

Answer by sparton223
Actually, you have the it the other way around. People who are sick and know they are being prayed for do worse.
It’s called a Placebo Effect. The person believes so much that the prayer will help them, that their body doesn’t work as hard to recover.
Sloth – No, it’s the correct way. They believe that they don’t need any other effect to help heal them, as in a full reliance on the prayer, so there body stops trying to recover normally. The effect with medicine is that they believe they have something helpful inside them that in tangibly there.

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The Least of Jesus' Brothers

Prayer experiments have been done, and have failed for the most part – miserably. A google search on ‘Prayer Study’ will get you some of the results. In short, the findings are that no statistically significant effect is found from prayer. From test to test, some showed a very slight improvement from prayer, and some showed that prayer actually diminished the effect of medical treatment (these were statistically insignificant). As another answerer pointed out, the largest, most comprehensive, and most recent test indicated that people who KNEW they were being prayed for did worse…This is largely blamed on ‘performance anxiety’.
(Sloth + Sparton) I know the placebo effect was brought up in a couple of the articles related to this latest study, but I don’t think it was considered to be a cause for the discrepancy in the results of the test for two reasons: 1. The conditions of the test were not conducive to a ‘placebo effect’. 2. The placebo effect is generally more pronounced…showing statistically significant results. In this test, there were none…exactly as an atheist would expect to see. The fact that prayer failed to produce even a measurable effect puts it well below ‘placebo’ on the list of effective treatments…probably somewhere just above bloodletting.
A true test of the existence of God himself would be a miracle. It is impossible to do, which is why the whole ‘God hypothesis’ has hung around. If we COULD conclusively test for his existence, he would have failed a long time ago and we’d be moving on with our lives.
There would still, however, be a sizeable group that clung to the religions of the world. Many religious people ignore reality on a regular basis as needed to preserve their faith.


oh, good! i thought you meant you would kill yourself! But i dont think praying would help in experiments


Why would it be a sin?
After all, if you can find some genuine evidence for the existence of God, reproducible under controlled conditions, suddenly a lot of atheists would have to reevaluate their positions, and many might convert. That would be a win for God. And the Bible is full of tales of Jesus producing miracles in order to make people believe.
On the other hand, if it turns out there’s no God, well, the concept of sin is pretty meaningless.

Acid Zebra

“Because I have heard (I’ll have to dig them up) of studies that did find prayer healed the sick quicker than not prayed-for groups. ”
I have heard the moon is made of cheese. MEANWHILE IN THE REAL WORLD….


Such studies have been done many times and always with the same result. No difference between prayer condition and non-prayer.

Jack Mania

If it proved he doesn’t exist followers would say you can’t test god.
If it proved he does you’ll have them saying “I told you so!”


A 2006 study that cost $ 2.4 million, with most of the money came from the John Templeton Foundation (which supports research into spirituality), found that prayers offered by strangers had no effect.
There have been no reliable studies that have found any positive effect of prayers.
“What’s the point of f**king praying in the first place? If God has a divine plan, what’s the point of praying? If what you want is in the divine plan, you will get it anyways… and if it’s not, you won’t get it because it’s not in the divine plan.”
– George Carlin,

never trust a muhammad sloth

no, sparton has the placebo effect backwards. the people who know they are being prayed for do better because they think theyre being healed so theyre more positive and their body does show improvement. the people who dont know about the prayers show no improvement
sparton, thats not how the placebo effect works. you get fake treatment that you think will make you better(prayer), and because you think youre going to get better, you actually do. thats the effect of the placebo. if you dont know youre being prayed for you dont get the benefits of the placebo


I’m sure some would say “yes” it is a sin.
My personal feeling is that it would not be, because if you believe then you believe. I think we were made to be inquisitive and as such are obligated by our human nature to question things. God gave us freewill to make our own decisions and I personally think it is a sin NOT to ask questions and seek salvation any way you can.


Wouldn’t work. Praying without faith is useless, Bible lesson 101 … if there was one. You must have faith. It is impossible to please God without faith, why bother praying if you don’t have faith?
So your test wouldn’t work on that bases.
God bless.


But that doesn’t really test the existence of God. There are multiple “variables” associated with praying and receiving help, and you really can’t isolate them. Just a few of these factors: The existence of God, the religion of the individual, the worthiness of the individual, the faith of the individual, the faith of those praying for the individual, and most importantly, God’s willingness to heal the individual. Sometimes they are needed on the other side.
So, studies like that do very little to prove or disprove the existence of God, as the isolated variable is not just “prayer.” There’s much more to it than that.
But to answer the question, I don’t know if I’d call it a sin, but I would call it a sin if you depended on said “empirical evidence” in order to believe in God. That would be to reject the concept of faith.


Faith does not require evidence. The opposite is true. The more you”know” the less you “believe”. Kinda drives you crazy huh? Well you’re the one who decided to count how many angels could fit on the head of a pin? (Aquinas)


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