Are Christians Getting High Off the Megachurch Experience?, Research Study Says

megachurch experience is like a drug


Are Christians Getting High Off the Megachurch Experience?, Research Study Says

A new University of Washington study has recently made claims that megachurch worship services are like drugs and it creates a spiritual “high,” which keeps people coming back for more and more.

EEW reported:

The study, “‘God is like a drug’: Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches,” was presented August 19 at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver. Researchers observed services and conducted 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys at 12 megachurches for the University of Washington study to gather these findings.

“We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug,” said James Wellman, an associate professor of American religion who co-authored the study, reports Huffington Post.

If you can believe it, researchers compare megachurch worship to an “oxytocin cocktail.”

Oxytocin is a chemical, often called the “love hormone,” thought to play a part in social interaction, creating an intimate bond and connection. The authors of the study view the megachurch worship experience as an emotional euphoria often felt when large groups socially interact, similar to ballgames.

“The upbeat modern music, cameras that scan the audience and project smiling, dancing, singing, or crying worshippers on large screens, and an extremely charismatic leader whose sermons touch individuals on an emotional level … serve to create these strong positive emotional experiences,” Corcoran said.

Our staff have been members of a megachurch or two in the past. We have to admit the big grand building, marble floors, huge sanctuary, cameras and lights are alluring but we couldn’t call it a drug; at least not for us. It was like attending a free concert every Sunday. We were able to recognize that some people were there for show and would run the aisles just for the camera to catch them on the videotaped sermon. We do believe if you are only interested in how modern the worship service is as a social mechanism, then some people may get a ‘drug-like- feeling from it.

Fortunately, God knows our hearts and if its not pure in the form of seeking His face, all of this mega stuff the church is driving, means nothing and just gets another vulnerable group of people hooked on man and not Him.