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Sociologists: Worship at Megachurches May Induce Drug-Like 'High'

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Sep 16
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A new study by University of Washington sociologists suggests that worship at megachurches may induce a drug-like spiritual "high" that helps explain these congregations' success, WORLD News Service reports. Scientists note that large gatherings around shared experiences, from concerts to football games, can trigger physiological reactions and "feelings of joy and transcendence." They say the brain releases a specific chemical, oxytocin, at higher rates during such events -- and the study indicates that worshipping at megachurches can have similar effects. Professor James Wellman, one of the co-authors, says megachurch attendees they interviewed recounted experiences of "unalloyed joy over and over again," leading the authors to say the feeling of going to a megachurch is "like a drug."