Who people believe rules in heaven influences their beliefs about who rules on Earth, Stanford scholars find

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.

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