“God’s love becomes … such a drug that you can’t wait to come get your next hit. … You can’t wait to get involved to get the high from God.” Reported a megachurch worshiper in a new study on the affects of spiritual highs in megachurches.
The lights, the swaying induced music, the large crowd, and that celebrity pastor preaching to you. Ahh… the spiritual high.
According to a new study, that “spiritual high” could be a result of a chemical process in the brain. The estimated 10% of American Protestants, about 6 million worshipers, who regularly attend one of 1,600 mega churches could experience this chemical process. At an annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver a team of researcher found that:
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. We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug.
The study showed that worshipers at megachurches experience a greater release of oxytocin, thought to add to a sense of euphoria. That would lead us to believe that these types of megachurch worship experiences can trigger a false sense of a spiritual high.
Adding to this sense of spiritual high, one of the study’s researcher said,