By Eric Mack
Once you see them side by side, the resemblance is so obvious. Put an aggregated vision of what God looks like next to a head shot of Elon Muskand prepare to be freaked out.
A study that surveyed 511 American Christians yielded a composite image of what the participants believe God looks like. I stared at this face for a while, thinking it looked familiar, like my uncle in his 30s, maybe? Then I saw that Gizmodo had picked up on the Musk-like similarities and couldn’t imagine seeing anyone else in that face.
Psychologists from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill asked believers to look at hundreds of randomly differing face pairs and pick one from each pair that looked most like how they imagine God. All the selections were then combined into the composite face of the being that created heavens and earth… or is it the man who wants to moves us from earth deeper into the heavens?
Interestingly, a “face of God” that looks like Elon Musk means that we seem to think the Creator is a very modern man; clean-shaven and rather youthful looking, unlike the classic images of an old dude with a big beard in the clouds.
The study found that people saw a lot of themselves in God. Younger people believed in a younger-looking God, African Americans believed in a deity that looked more African American, and people who consider themselves more physically attractive believe in a God who is more hot than not.
This may help explain why the study’s collective God looks like Elon Musk, who undeniably looks like a pretty average white person. I have to wonder: if we created a composite image of the 511 people that participated in the study, would we get roughly the same face?
“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” said Professor Kurt Gray, the senior author of the study published in Plos One, in a release. “People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God’s appearance is no different—people believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.”
So this “Face of God” is really just humanity looking at its own reflection rather than evidence that Musk’s success as an entrepreneur and marketer is due to his hidden status as an all-powerful creator of the universe.
Besides, if Musk really were God, wouldn’t he be able to hit his own timelines and produce all those back-ordered Tesla Model 3 units with a snap of his fingers? You’d think so, but remember, Elon works in mysterious ways.
This post was originally published in Forbes
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