By T.L. Lewis/EEW Magazine Staff
It is quite amusing when researchers come up with scientific explanations for divinely inexplicable encounters. A new University of Washington study claims that megachurch worship services are like drugs, creating a spiritual “high,” which keeps people coming back for more.
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.
Unable to comprehend the drawing power of the Holy Spirit, that, though invisible, is very tangible, researchers sometimes reduce great moves of God to emotional euphoria. "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.
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.
It is hard to argue against the fact that there is a group of people that show up at church simply to have a good time, and to emotionally escape. But others have and do regularly experience the power of God. This group attends service out of an act of worship, and devotion to the Lord—not to get “high.”
Also, while it is true that megachurch worship services can be emotionally invigorating, pleasant encounters, Believers understand that the power and presence of God goes beyond emotionalism.
The authentic work of the Holy Spirit brings transformation and change. God’s presence, when embraced and allowed to have free course in one’s life, conforms the individual and brings forth the fruit of righteousness.
SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST