Easter 2016
Representational Image Reuters

A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina has successfully created a composite image which may be the true face of God. The team comprised of psychologists constructed a spectacular portrait of the possible face of God based on a survey conducted among 511 American Christian believers.

Breaking the traditional concept of bearded God

Interestingly, the portrait of the God did not have that conventional archetypal beard which popular culture used to depict. The portrait created by the team of US researchers looks very similar to a Caucasian young man who is very young. To create this composite image, researchers asked the participants who are strong devotees to share how they envision God in their minds.

Factors influencing people while envisioning God

Joshua Conrad Jackson, the lead researcher of the study revealed that the way in which people used to perceive God is directly influenced by their political leanings. Conservative participants who took part in the survey mostly picked a face which has a strong Caucasian style. On the other hand, people with a liberal political stand are more likely to chose less Caucasian faces with a feminine touch.

During the study, researchers also noted that the style in which the participants perceive God is dependent on their demographics. People who are younger perceived God young, while African Americans tend to pick faces similar to people in their community.

However, gender bias did not affect the participant's perception while envisioning God. Even females who took part in the study chose masculine figures when asked to envision God.

"These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies that liberals and conservatives want. Past research shows that conservatives are more motivated than liberals to live in a well-ordered society, one that would be best regulated by a powerful God. On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God," said Joshua Conrad Jackson, Express.co.uk reports.

People see themselves in God

Senior author of the study Professor Kurt Grey said that people will envision God in such a way that it looks and think like them.

"We began this paper with a question: What does God look like? Our results suggest that there may not be a single answer for all believers, even within the same religion. When believers think about God, they perceive a divine mind who is suited to meet their needs and who looks like them," wrote the psychologists in their study report.

The researchers also added that the perceptions of God's face are universally not similar even though Christians living in America believe in a universal God.