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What Does God Look Like? Study Shows Political Differences

Image: What Does God Look Like? Study Shows Political Differences
Christians' opinion on what God looks like varied along political lines, a study found. (Eti Swinford/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 June 2018 05:36 PM

A study about what God looks like showed liberals and conservatives see God very differently, researchers who surveyed 511 American Christians found. 

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill researchers asked participants to view 300 pairs of human faces and choose which one better represented God, Science Magazine reported. The researchers found the participants all came to the study with bias that God was more like themselves.

Many of the Christians did not see God as old and with a white beard, but as younger, more feminine, and less Caucasian than they expected, UNC reported.

There also were differences in the way liberals and conservatives pictured God. Conservatives saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful than liberals did, UNC reported, while liberals saw God as more loving and feminine, and younger. 

“These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies that liberals and conservatives want,” lead study author Joshua Conrad Jackson said, UNC reported. 

Participants also tended to see God as more like themselves, with younger people perceiving a younger God and attractive people seeing God as more attractive, UNC reported. 

“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” senior study author and psychology professor Kurt Gray said, UNC reported. “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.”

Men and women both believed in a masculine-looking God, UNC reported. 

The research received grants from the Templeton Foundation and National Science Foundation, UNC reported. 

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A study about what God looks like showed liberals and conservatives see God very differently, researchers who surveyed 511 American Christians found.
what, does, god, look, like
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2018-36-12
Tuesday, 12 June 2018 05:36 PM
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