Megachurches Are ‘Like A Drug’

Medical News Today discusses a study attempting to qualify the infectious appeal of megachurches. Is it me, or does this sound like a description of a cult?

Megachurches, or churches with 2,000 or more congregants, have grown in number, size, and popularity in recent years, coming to virtually dominate the American religious landscape. More than half of all American churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches.

Megachurch services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music, and what Wellman calls a “multisensory mélange” of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor.

As part of their study, Wellman, Corcoran, and Stockly-Meyerdirk analyzed 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys on megachurch members’ emotional experiences with their churches. Four themes emerged: salvation/spirituality, acceptance/belonging, admiration for and guidance from the leader, and morality and purpose through service.

Many participants used the word “contagious” to describe the feeling of a megachurch service where members arrive hungry for emotional experiences and leave energized. One church member said, “(T)he Holy Spirit goes through the crowd like a football team doing the wave.”

25 Comments on "Megachurches Are ‘Like A Drug’"

  1. Yes, they’re like a drug that causes much harm to the individuals who are addicted to them.

    Not to mention to society as a whole.

  2. The bigger the church or rally (like one of Hitler’s), the bigger the “contagious” effect. Until human beings can think for themselves, we are doomed to the effects, usually negative, of these large propaganda type gatherings.

  3. Calypso_1 | Aug 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Working the corners – it’s all about real estate and flow control, makes it easier to launder all those ‘tithes & offerings’.  Look into any Megachurch and you will find a senator or a state Supreme Court justice nested deep in their web – usually a militia too.   

  4. Disinfo users frantically Google “how to smoke church” while looking over their shoulders for reptilian government agents…

    • Matt Staggs | Aug 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

      You’re one of them, maaaaan….

    • Calypso_1 | Aug 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

      To be fair, I’m sure many have already used the sacrosanct pages of the ‘Greatest Story Every Told’ to Holy Roll a splif.

  5. MadHierophant | Aug 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm |

    I bet the Erowid entries for this are hilarious. 

  6. DeepCough | Aug 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    Megachurches are not like drugs. If anything, they’re more like untaxed corporations.

  7. I respect whippet usage more than mega-churches. 

  8. Avalon2012 | Aug 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    Marx nailed it: Opiate of the masses….

    • Or maybe not. The article makes it sound more like Ecstasy, and Marx didn’t know anything about white American Protest-ant megachurches.

      Maybe Marx should’ve said religion is the opiate of the oppressed, and the amphetamine of the oppressor?

  9. lifobryan | Aug 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

    Another famous drug that produces a “flowing of the spirit” sensation is Ex-Lax. 

  10. Also known as…SHOWBIZ!

  11. Jasperwoolf | Aug 22, 2012 at 4:35 am |

    mass production of fully fledged brainwashed cristians.

  12. going to church was the main form of entertainment for most people in simpler times, and guess what? it still is major entertainment. you could not pay me to go to church 

  13. TedHeistman | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

    I dunno. Seems pretty inocuous to me. Its just like a going to a concert or something.

    • Calypso_1 | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

      Perhaps you haven’t had the same concert going experiences as some of us.

      • TedHeistman | Aug 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

        Well, I mean probably a lame concert. The thing is I try to be consistent. I really could care less if a bunch of people want to get together and sway back and forth and sing about jesus and babble or whatever they do.

        I see no reason to get up in arms about it.

        • Calypso_1 | Aug 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

          Because once the group is trance induced the message is decidedly un-Christ like.   It usually has to do with taking back the nation, imminent and perpetual war in the God given Holy Land, removing science from schools, removing civil rights from non-believers, et al….all under the guise of the Great Commission.
          As to up in arms…one out to be, they certainly are – locked and loaded.

          • Jesus Borg | Aug 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

             Well be paranoid then, if it works for you. I have a buddy that goes to one he likes to drink beer and fish. We smoke cigars together and drink scotch about once a month. I went to his church a couple times, its just music like you hear on Christian radio and a sermon. Didn’t strike me as fire and brimstone. It doesn’t strike me exactly as fundamentalism. Bit more laid back.

            Its a big World out there. Just because some group would like see the world be a certain way doesn’t mean that’s how it will end up. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.

            I mean tone of this article is like “reefer madness” only with church. “ooh its like a drug!” who gives a fuck if it is? I think drugs should be legal.

          • Calypso_1 | Aug 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

            Is that the extent of your church experience?

  14. Jesus Christ superstar bitches!

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