St. Petersburg, Russia - A recent study conducted by the TBNN research group revealed a possible connection between looks and theology. The survey was conducted over the course of three months during which time 2,000 people were shown pictures of various religious and theological figures and were asked to rate the individuals' beauty on a scale of one to ten. In the end 80% of those who held to poor theological perspectives were considered to be on the "attractive" or "good looking" side while 76% of those who held to sound evangelical theology were considered "unattractive" or "not pleasing to the eye."
A total list of 100 theological/religious figures was used with 50 being from the "bad theology" camp and 50 from the "good theology" camp. S ome of the more popular figures in question from the "bad theology" camp included Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and Rod Parsley.
"Our research brought some very interesting results" said Brother Slawson who assisted in the research. "At the top of the list were Osteen and Parsley, with Osteen taking a slight advantage over Parsley. I think it was the teeth that won it for Osteen though. So many people would tell us, 'Oh, what a lovely smile!' For many people Parsley seems to have more of a Hollywood appeal, almost a suave 'tough guy' appearance. Amongst the older crowds, Robert Schuller and Bishop Spong won hearts."
In the end the top five rated persons for the "Bad Theology" group were as follows;
Joel Osteen - 9.87
Rod Parsley - 9.25
Creflo Dollar - 8.90
Gene Robinson - 8.25
Benny Hinn - 8.20
Under the category of "Good Theology" though, things looked significantly different.
"We were shocked when we began to show people photos and pictures of good theologians" stated Slawson. "Very few rated over five."
A sampling of the ratings from the "Good Theology" category clearly showed that with improved theology often comes less attractive looks.
George Whitfield - 4.97
C.H. Spurgeon - 4.23
Martin Luther - 4.15
John Owen - 3.99
Jonathan Edwards - 3.98
"When it was all said and done the evidence was pretty overwhelming" said Slawson. "The better one's looks the worse his or her theology will be, and the less attractive one is the better his or her theology will be. We are now trying to figure out a possible reason for this. One theory is that perhaps those with good theology are so occupied with studying God's Word that they don't have time to visit hair salons and beauty parlors and such."
There were exceptions on both sides. Under the "Bad Theology" category, Charles Finney scored only a 0.76, while under the "Good Theology" category J. Ligon Duncan III managed to score a 9.11.
"Of course there are exceptions, that's always the case" stated Slawson. "But the paradigm seems pretty consistent. If you're visiting churches out there, or are perhaps unhappy with your current church situation I'd take a look at your pastor. If he's a handsome guy, I'd be careful."