Is This the Face of God? Most Americans Believe the Almighty Looks Like an Average White Guy

Is this the face of God?
Is this how you see God? UNC Chapel Hill

What does God look like to you? That was the question raised by a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill study assessing America's take on the Christian creator.

Their conclusion: God is an average white guy, according to the majority of 511 people, 74 percent of whom were Caucasian.

Participants were shown hundreds of randomly varying face-pairs and were tasked with selecting the face from each pair that looked more like their vision of God, according to the UNC website.

Researchers combined all the selected faces to assemble a composite "face of God," the site says.

The composite appears average-looking and white, with twinkling eyes.

The study found that some black Americans polled also saw God as a white male, though not all of them.

"People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias," Professor Kurt Gray, a senior author told the College of Arts & Sciences' site. "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.”

God was also perceived differently down ideological lines.

While liberals tended to see God as more feminine, younger and more loving, conservatives saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful-looking.

"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. "On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God."

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