I have noticed that many Irish Catholics bless themselves when in proximity to, or otherwise pass a church. I conjecture it is down to one of two effect, but I cannot tell which it might be through casual observation alone:
- There exists a spiritual inverse-square law. Every time you halve your distance to the church, your blessing becomes four times more effective.
- There is a religious Oberth effect. Put simply, your prayer will have a proportionally greater effect if you are in motion perpendicular to the church and at the point of the closest approach, than if you are at rest, or moving away.
I therefore propose two series of experiments:
- A test for a spiritual inverse square law. We find some devout Catholics, and have them bless themselves at regular and decreasing distances to the church. We can then measure how blessed they feel immediately thereafter, and determine if such a spiritual law exists.
- More exciting from the viewpoint of laypeople who enjoy kinetically high-energy events, we perform blessings at delineated and ever-increasing speeds perpendicular to the designated chapel, and then measure feelings of blessedness, to see if a “religious gravity assist” exists.
I will require a devout Catholic, a ruler, a car, a clipboard, and a denominationally-neutral assistant to record findings. Light refreshments will be provided at the conclusion of the experiments.