From Black woman to grey-bearded old man, God’s look has been imagined, painted and re-imagined for centuries. But according to a new study, a team of psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say most Christians think God is a “young White dude.”
NBC News reports that researchers sampled 511 Americans, including 330 men, 181 women, 26 percent black, 74 percent Caucasian, to ask have them look through hundreds of faces to compile their idea of what God looks like. Most people chose the younger, friendlier face to represent God as opposed to someone older.
The psychologist believes the results indicate “the face of the modern American God” who may not “resemble scriptural or historical depictions.”
Let the record show, however, that the same ol’ narrative remains: God is a White guy. It’s not hard to believe this news when the majority of the study group was identical to the image of God they chose. “People tend to believe in a God that looks like them,” Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s senior author. “And most of the people who took part were male and White.”
The participants were also demographically diverse, which played a political role in their selections. Conservatives were more likely to view God as White and powerful while liberals saw God as young and loving.
“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, “ said Joshua Conrad Jackson, the study’s lead author, told the UNC website. “On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God.”
It goes to show that the look of God’s face continues to be in the eye of the beholder. So for now, we’ll just stick to God being a Black woman.