God – according to common belief – is the alpha and omega, the omnipotent and omniscient entity that created the universe. Here, we examine the extent to which U.S. Christians conceptualize God as a White man, and the extent to which this concept advantages White men and disadvantages Blacks and women. Four studies reveal that White Christians conceptualize God as a White man whereas Black Christians conceptualize God as a non-White man, and that regardless of participants’ own race or gender, the belief that God is a White man predicts perceiving Blacks and women as less fit than White men for supervisory positions. These results document how beliefs about who governs the universe contribute to beliefs about who should govern earth.
Steven O. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and the director of the Social Cognition and Development Lab. He received his B.S. in Applied Psychology from New York University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Broadly, he is interested in how adults and young children conceptualize groups, and how those concepts guide how they reason about individuals.