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Study Reveals Most Christians View God as a Caucasian Male, Naturally Black Folks Have Something to Say About It 

Face of God

A composite sketch of the face of God, according to older Christian Americans. (Image courtesy of Joshua Jackson / UNC Chapel Hill)

Social media users had a lot to say about a recent study by psychologists at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill suggesting that most American Christians think God looks like a young white dude.

Twitter wasn’t buying it, however.

The study, published Monday, surveyed 511 Americans (330 men, 181 women, 26 percent Black, 74 percent white) and had them sort through hundreds of pairs of faces to reveal a new, modern-day image of the Almighty, according to NBC News. Although the likeness of the modern American God appears friendlier and more “approachable” than “…the old and august, white-bearded Caucasian man” typically shown in 16th century illustrations, he is still very much white and male.

“People tend to believe in a God that looks like them,” Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s lead author, told NBC News. “And most of the people who took part were male and white.”

What researchers found most shocking was the fact that most women viewed God as male and than even some Black folks “saw God as white … and with twinkling eyes,” according to Gray.

“I think it’s because for millennia, Christians have been led to think of God as male and white,” he added. “It’s changing a little now, but the church hierarchies are still mostly male and mostly white.

Biblical descriptions of God/Jesus paint a different picture, however, and critics were quick to point to passages describing the Almighty as a brown-skinned, wooley-haired man.

Politics also played a role in participants’ view of God. According to the study, liberals were more likely to see the Almighty as young and loving while conservatives viewed him as old and powerful.

“When believers think about God, they perceive a divine mind who is suited to meet their needs and who looks like them,” researchers concluded. “Even though American Christians express belief in a universal God, their perceptions of his face are not universally similar.”

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