Researchers wanted to figure out what the majority of American Christians think God’s face looks like and the results are interesting.
The researchers surveyed 511 American Christians broken down by age, gender, race, political ideology, and self-identified attractiveness. All of these categories were assigned a generic visual perception depending upon the category’s quality.
The participants were all shown different images with heightened “noise” to filter out specific facial characteristics and the reports from participants weren’t entirely shocking.
In general, most people saw the images and thought that God looked more like their own characteristics. So African Americans chose the photo with more African American qualities and older participants saw God as older.
The third of participants who reported being moderately-to-very liberal typically chose a more “feminine, more African American, and more loving” depiction of God. The third of participants who reported being moderately-to-very conservative saw God as “older, more intelligent, and more powerful.”
But there was one more surprising result from this study.
Turns out, most American Christians don’t actually see God as he’s been portrayed in art or stained glass murals in churches over the past few centuries. The researchers thought this was probably due to the influence of depictions of Jesus which aren’t stylistically the same as depictions of God.
There were two conclusions from this study:
First, even though humans have clearly never seen God, most American Christians do have a firm grasp on what they believe He looks like. Second, even though all Christians believe in the same God, there are clear distinctions between how each demographic envisions Him.