Researchers at the University of North Carolina asked 551 Christians what they supposed God looked like. This is the composite sketch they came up with, the image on the left as imagined by the study’s younger participants, the image on the right from the older respondents.
“People seem to conceive of God looking more like the lead singer of a boy band than the stern commandment-giver of Michelangelo,” says Dr. Keith Parsons, a philosophy professor at the University of Houston Clear Lake who teaches religion.
He’s white, young, and clean-cut, which is probably what most of the respondents who were asked looked like. We tend to imagine God is a better looking version of ourselves, and almost always a male. “The only religion I can think of that really doesn’t fit the pattern is the ancient Egyptians, who saw Gods in the form of animals,” Dr. Parsons says.
Liberals see God as “more feminine, younger, and more loving,” while Conservatives see him as “more powerful,” according to the researchers.
White people tend to think of God as white, African-Americans tend to see him as black, younger people see him as younger and older people see him as older.