Science & Tech

This is what God looks like, according to science

This is what God looks like, according to science
Marjorie Taylor Greene compares Trump to Nelson Mandela and Jesus after arrest
Jackson et al/PLOS One

Researchers have reconstructed what Americans believe God looks like and the results say a lot about human nature.

While those who believe in it have long debated about what Jesus would have liked, from the complexion of his skin to his height, we rarely think about how God might appear.

Now using a new technique, psychologists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have reconstructed what Americans think God looks like.

In the study published in the journal PLOS One, 511 Christians were shown hundreds of pairs of faces with various expressions and features.

Each time, the participants were asked to choose which of the two pictures most closely resembled what they thought the Christian deity looked like.

The selected faces were then merged to create one face that represented what the average American Christian believes God to look like.

Results found the final face was more feminine and younger than is often depicted, but that individual selections were influenced by people’s political views.

More conservative-leaning people tended to see God as more caucasian and more “powerful” (left image), while liberals felt he would be more feminine and loving (right image).

Jackson et al/PLOS One

The study offered a glimpse into human psychology, finding that people were more likely to choose a photo that more closely resembled themselves.

Its authors wrote: “Independent ratings suggest that, as predicted, perceptions of God’s face are shaped by egocentrism.

“Older participants saw an older God, more attractive participants saw a more attractive God, and African Americans saw a marginally more African American God.”

Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s senior author, argued it is down to our egocentric bias, explaining in a statement: “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.”

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