CHAPEL HILL, NC (WFMY) - A team of psychologists at the University of North Carolina have asked a panel of Christians to answer a long-debated question.
What does God look like?
Researchers asked 511 American Christians and found that many of them perceived God as younger, less masculine and more diverse than the traditional idea of God being an older, white man as shown in Michelangelo's 'Creation of Adam.'
"Researchers found that many Christians saw God as younger, more feminine, and less Caucasian that popular culture suggests," said a release from the school published on Monday.
The final composite images showed aggregates of young participants (on the left) and old participants (right) that were closest to their image of God. Both sketches appear to show a clean-shaven white man with dark hair.
The psychologists built a composite 'face of God' based on what participants' thought. Those who participated in the study were shown hundreds of pairs of faces and selected which face from each pair was closest to their personal image of God.
Their findings? Americans view God differently based on their political leanings and demographics. Researchers say liberals tend to see God as more feminine, younger, more loving. Conservatives see God as more Caucasian and powerful.
The report also says people also saw more of themselves in God's appearance. Younger people believed in a younger-looking God. People who reported being more attractive felt God was more physically attractive. African-Americans who participated felt God looked more black than white.
More about the study can be found on UNC's website through the College of Arts & Sciences.