Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God, and a new study reveals just what those Americans think God would look like.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill surveyed 511 American Christians to find out how they view God by showing them hundreds of pairs of faces and asking which in each pair looked more like how they picture God.
Contrary to popular portrayals of God in art as a older, white bearded Caucasian man, the composite face revealed by researchers is younger, less masculine and less Caucasian.
Researchers said how people view God was influenced by their political bent, with liberals seeing a more feminine, younger man and “more loving,” while conservatives saw God as more Caucasian, older and “more powerful.”
“These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies liberals and conservatives want,” suggested Joshua Conrad Jackson, the study’s lead author in a statement. “Past research shows that conservatives are more motivated than liberals to live in a well-ordered society, one that would be best regulated by a powerful God. On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God.”
Age was another factor in how someone imagines God, with younger people choosing younger faces. Personal attractiveness was also influential, with more attractive people choosing a more attractive God.
Finally, African Americans tended to imagine a God that was more African American-looking, as opposed to Caucasian, with men and women choosing a more masculine God.
“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” said Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s senior author and a psychology professor in the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. “People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God’s appearance is no different. People believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.”
The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Gee, and I thought GOD was Mother Earth
First of all, God does not have a human form. That’s why He became a human through being born as one using Mary as His vessel. That’s why he was born, like a son, as Jesus. Of course, mankind being arrogant, expected a wealthy king, instead of a poor Jewish carpenter. I find it interesting that people think God looks like a mortal. It matters not what He looks like, but what we look like to Him. Are we ugly with sin, or beautiful by following His 10 Commandments? God made us many colors, and speaking different languages. Its up to us to follow His commandments and to stop sunning against each other. Mankind’s sinning is what’s is causing all the evil in our world.
God is brighter than 1,000 suns, hyperlight speed, transdimensional, all-knowing, and able to keep track of over a quintillion variations of the timeline. He is able to be everywhere at the same time because he is in contact with every atom in the universe. When I try to explain the trinity I use the example of a TV program. We will see Jesus because he is like the program we view on TV. The station and transmitter is compared to God while the broadcast signal is like the Holy Spirit. It reaches every set in the world. But only those tuned to the station, in this case God, through acceptance of Christ as their Savior, can see the program. This isn’t a perfect illustration of what the trinity is. But it may explain it better than other examples.