Study Finds People’s Mental Image of God Looks A Lot Like They Do

Study Finds People’s Mental Image of God Looks A Lot Like They Do

The stereotypical, westernized image of God is usually something like a cross between Zeus and Socrates; elderly, sagacious, white-bearded, and male. But according to a recent study, which compiled images of God’s appearance in the minds of hundreds of American Christians, God looks nothing like the antiquated archetype we’re all familiar with.

The study, led by researchers at UNC Chapel Hill, asked 511 American Christian participants to describe what God looks like in their mind’s eye. The team then created an amalgam of all the descriptions to create a general visage of the sample group’s perception of the divine.

The point of the team’s research was to study cognitive bias and motivation when it comes to people’s conceptualization of God. They point out that many religious scholars argue that “images of God are best seen as idiosyncratic across individuals rather than monolithic within religion or culture.”

And as it turns out, those idiosyncrasies couldn’t be more influential in their subjects’ minds, as their depictions of God often looked a lot like themselves. But does this come as any surprise?

Researchers used a method called “reverse correlation” to create the image of God, by using a combination of 50 images of the average American varying in age, gender, and race. They then overlaid “visual noise” on the image – the result of participants choosing between 300 face pairs, deciding which one they think looks closer to God.

god

The study found that egocentrism played a significant role in the subjects’ image, except that both genders primarily viewed God as male, with a few exceptions. Otherwise, the features of God’s face turned out to be much like their own, and shared the same general outlook on life, including political and social ideals.

One could argue that it makes sense we imagine God in our own image. Christians are taught that God made man in his own image, while eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism often teach that we are one in the same with God or that we should strive to become one with God. So why wouldn’t we see ourselves as bearing some resemblance to a perceived creator.

But the most striking result of the study was that the appearance generated by compiling all of the descriptions showed a smiling, youthful, effeminate, male. While the gender and race may not be too surprising, the age and softer features varied significantly from the clichéd image depicted in the past. The image also varies significantly from the common long-haired, caucasian depictions of Jesus.

Another surprise, according to some, is that the aggregated image seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to Elon Musk, though that may be a totally subjective observation…

 

Here’s Alan Watts speaking about the difference between our perceptions of God based on holy scriptures and the style of the universe: 

Alan Watts: God


This Rare Cosmic Alignment Happens Once a Decade

This Rare Cosmic Alignment Happens Once a Decade

Mars and Jupiter in conjunction in Aries. How you can take advantage of the energy produced by this meeting of planets.

On May 29 Mars and Jupiter will be in conjunction where they will appear to be close to each other when observed from Earth, and they will both be in Aries, something we have not seen since April of 2011. What will the conjunction of these strong planets in Aries mean to us? 

“To understand this conjunction at a personal level, we need to understand that Mars is our drive, and Jupiter expands everything that it touches. These two planets are aligning in the constellation of Aries. What is Aries? Aries is the energy of birth, it’s the energy of beginnings, it’s where the fire starts,” said astrologer Mercedes Arnus Arraut.

“It’s the energy that gets us going — that gets us moving. By Mars being in Aries, it’s the warrior entering onto the battlefield,” she said. “So, we can be feeling very feisty, we can be feeling a lot of energy, especially because Jupiter is going to highlight all that warrior energy. So, when Jupiter touches Mars all our fire is highlighted; we feel a very strong drive; we feel like our energy is on fire, and it’s very beautiful because 2022 has been a year, so far, that has been very sensitive. “

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