How people visualize God can have real consequences to life on Earth, Stanford research has found.
The researchers, led by Stanford psychologist Steven O. Roberts, conducted a series of studies with U.S. Christians and found that when people conceptualize God as a white man, they are more likely to perceive white male job candidates as more fit for leadership than black and female applicants, Stanford research has found.
Their data, published Jan. 30 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reveals the consequences of intuiting a particular identity to God and how those beliefs manifest in everyday life.
“Basically, if you believe that a white man rules the heavens, you are more likely to believe that white men should rule on Earth,” said Roberts, an assistant professor of psychology in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences.
How U.S. Christians imagine God
Roberts and his team conducted seven different studies, including two experiments with atheists and agnostics, that tested perceptions about God and leadership.
“People are constantly exposed to the image of God as a white man,” Roberts said.
As part of their first study, the researchers analyzed images resulting from a Google search engine query for the word “God.” They found that of the images that depict God in a human form, 72 percent were of a white man (6 percent were images of actor Morgan Freeman, who portrayed God in the 2003 film Bruce Almighty).
Given the pervasive depiction of God as a white man, Roberts wanted to see whether people believed that to be true. The researchers recruited 444 U.S. Christians and showed them 12 pairs of faces that differed in age, race and gender. They were asked which face in the pair looked more God-like.
Overall, the researchers found that participants reported that God was more male than female. They also found that white Christians were more likely to say God was white and black Christians were more likely to say God was black.
“It was somewhat shocking that our participants explicitly attributed a gender and a race to God,” Roberts said.
Roberts wanted to test that finding with beliefs about who should be in leadership.
For their second study, the researchers recruited a new sample of 1,012 U.S. Christians. In addition to completing the same set of questions and exercise administered in the first study, respondents were asked to imagine that they worked for a company that was hiring a new supervisor. They were then shown faces of 32 job applicants and asked to rate how well each applicant would fit the supervisory position.
Roberts found that when Christians conceptualized God as white and male, they rated white male job applicants more favorably than white female candidates, who were rated more favorably than black male and black female candidates. This result was found with white, black, male and female respondents.
“The conception of a white male God, which we are constantly exposed to, has important consequences for who we think should and should not be in charge,” Roberts said.
What children think God looks like
Given the prevalence of the image of God as a white male among adults, Roberts was also curious to know how these effects unfolded with U.S. Christian children.
“If kids think of God as a white man, they may grow up thinking that only white men should lead,” Roberts said. “If true, we would want to early on encourage children to see everyone as potential leaders, regardless of their race or gender.”
The researchers recruited 176 children between the ages of 4 and 12 at their Sunday school at eight churches – five in Northern California and three in North Carolina.
Some of these children were asked to draw a picture of God. They were given a blank piece of paper and 14 crayons that included a variety of skin tones and colors.
These images were then shown to a sample of 224 adults who were asked to identify each image by age, race and gender (for example, they were asked whether they thought the drawing depicted an old or young person, black or white, male or female). To ensure that people were objective in their ratings, religious imagery was scrubbed out of the drawings so it was unclear they were illustrations of God.
Overall, adults rated the children’s drawings as more male than female and more white than black.
These ratings also corresponded with how children selected leaders. Children were shown 12 faces of different people, male and female, black and white, and asked: “There are lots and lots of people at the place where I work. But only three of them are bosses. Which three do you think are the bosses?”
Roberts found that the whiter the child’s picture of God was rated, the more that child rated white people as more boss-like.
“Even early in life, the belief that God is white shapes how children evaluate actual human beings,” Roberts said.
Beyond Christianity, race and gender
The other four studies reported in the paper extended beyond the context of a Judeo-Christian God. These studies introduced adult Christians and atheists as well as preschoolers who had never heard of God to a made-up deity from a ficticious planet. The researchers found that participants still used a god’s identity to draw conclusions about who is suitable for leadership.
“Collectively, our data provide robust support for a profound conclusion: Beliefs about who rules in heaven predict beliefs about who rules on Earth,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
Poverty has always hit the life and health of people globally. It is easy to convince those people who are living a poverty life. Globally, many countries have intense faith in religion.
Most of the under-developed countries have a greater dependency on religion. Frustrated, neglected, and lack of support have pushed people to have a deep belief towards religions. It is one of the reasons that Jim Jones was able to be the supreme who led to the death of 918 people at his fingertip.
By the command of the leader Jim Jones the suicidal massacre took place. The incident in which followers killed themselves by drinking a poison called “ Kool-aid”. The poison was offered to more than 900 followers. Jim Jones was settled in Jonestown with his commune members. He was able to influence the people of a remote place in Guyana to follow him as disciples.
Why was a suicidal massacre possible?
The supremacy of Religion is never less for weakness and poverty. Changing the mind of the poor is possible in exchange for food and some consoling conversations.
According to the Christian religion, it is believed to be responsible to help the poor. Guyana is still one of the poorest countries of South America that suffer below the poverty line. Many children in Guyana suffer from malnutrition.
Guyana is a former British colony in Northern South America. Christianity is the major religion in Guyana. Slavery and other behaviors leftover from the British Empire made them follow Christianity.
This is one of the reasons that Jim Jones was able to seize the power as the leader. He as an activist was able to connect with his followers of the People’s Temple.
Previous tragedies related to religions are already pointing out the way followers are brainwashed and hypnotized. Once brainwashed followers cannot think and judge about their wrong and right.
Their beliefs develop with different traces of faith pointed towards God. The religious leader like Jim Jones, the cult can develop a blind belief. In fact, Jones, an American, started his career a Christian pastor in Indiana.
Did you ever notice that weak and poor people are more religious?
Even after years of Jim Jones’s suicidal massacre, the influence of sacrifices and death is practiced as a part of religion. In the Hindu religion, the prayers and rituals of certain Goddesses are incomplete without the sacrifices.
The sacrifices can be of animals or birds but the human sacrifices are no longer in practice. The killing of animals to satisfy the evils and powers are still in practice.
Sati Pratha is one of the popular parts of rituals in Hinduism. This was a punishment when the widow was burned alive with the dead body of her husband.
A lack of education and power of religion has enabled to put the entire rituals to function. But it was before independence that Raja Ram Mohan Ray had protested and put Sati Pratha to an end.
Religious blind belief on Dominionism
“Dominionism” of the leaders in different religions is somehow misleading the strong beliefs of the people. Influencing the past is shading the present with unethical beliefs and supernatural practices. Violence, death, and prejudices are common in the present times due to beliefs that are not real and harmful to mankind.
The main reason for the dominating is to become the superior religious leader. It was a way for a leader who can dictate as well as lead. Communal and religious violence occurs in different countries.
One of the worst experiences is the attack on the World Trade Center. It is one of the historical attacks that the world mourns even today. The attack was organized by Al-Qaeda; which masqueraded as an Islamic charity to demonstrate religious power and spread the message of terror to the world.
Religious leaders are using religion as a weapon to demonstrate the potential to rule over people and the country. One of the leaders like Jim Jones is the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who has given the worst paradigm of religion spreading terror.
Science and religion
Even today, poor countries lacking proper introduction to science, facts, and reasoning, are in the trap of black magic. Though religion is entirely different from black magic.
But the leader of religion has created unbreakable beliefs. Globally, No religions support magic or supernatural beliefs. But it is with the influences of the religious leaders that crimes and violence are increasing. It is through the false verdicts of superpower and black magic.
Science and religion, both oppose black magic and supernatural practices. In Africa, black magic is still practiced among the groups of indigenous people as part of rituals.
People suffer due to black magic and preachers of such ill-practices. Despite few believe black magic as their guides are the leaders who misguide them.
Jim Jones was one of the leaders who had misguided his followers. They were not aware of the religious beliefs and believed in their leader.
Many of Jones’ followers were poor African Americans, many of whom never received a good education because of racism. Jones lured the followers to his compound to Guyana to separate them from their families.
The Ability Of Mind control
Even decades after their deaths, there are still leaders who master controlling the people’s minds. Growing as a leader and representing a religion is the way they can convince their followers.
Followers are obedient and trace the path as per their leaders. Moreover, they are slaves too, but the disciples are not aware of reality. It is the main game changer of controlling the human brain.
Top authorities such as Jim Jones are still present who globally rules as Baba, pastor, or a philosopher. Inculcating the followers govern them as per the requirements of the leaders. Hereby, the up-gradation of technology and economy together has given a new paradise to the religious leader.
The incident of Jim Jones’ Peoples’ Temple was a one-time example of damage a powerful religious leader can do through mind control. But there are leaders today who are dominate on millions, spreading greed and evil hiding beyond the masks of religion. Religion has to become a politically controlling millions of minds every time.
The immoral desires of some religious leaders lead to crimes, violence, and death. They aim to grab and retain power at all costs.
This has slowly removed the faith from religion. The death is because of the false prophets including modern religious leaders such as Jim Jones. Such can cults turn religion into politics.