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Old 09-17-2012, 04:23 PM
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Default Do religious people work harder than seculars?

Yesterday a rabbi gave a service at my family's Unitarian church that was largely about technical issues in religious texts as relating to Rosh Hashanah, such as the timing of historical religious events. Since I've never been a religious scholar, this sermon largely went over my head but he made a claim about recent history that intrigued me: Societies are generally unable to convey messages about morality from one generation to the next outside of a religious context (This comment was meant to rankle, the audience being Unitarians). When I thought about this for a bit, something profound emerged.

On the face of it, I'm not a particularly immoral person. I don't commit crimes, don't use drugs, and am close to my parents. However, throughout my life I've been lazier than most people I know both in school and at work. I also happen to have been raised as a Unitarian Universalist. The friends and family I know who do work harder and set and achieve big goals were either raised in a fairly strong religious faith or at least in a family with strong ethnic traditions. This includes my own father, who was raised as a Methodist and has always worked hard everywhere, but was never good at teaching or managing others, including me.

Of course, many people who are raised in a religious faith leave it, including most Unitarians, but at a glance it seems to me that most hard-working people are raised in religious faiths and that if they leave the faith, they keep the self discipline but lose the ability to teach it to others.

I want to hear and read more that this rabbi has said and written. Since Unitarians are a different audience than Jews, he said some things at this sermon are things that, by his own admission, he wouldn't say in his own temple (though I don't really know what since I don't know much about Judaism).

So, do you notice much of a correlation, or even causation, between religiosity (or ethnic tradition) and work ethic? Or at least the rabbi's original claim of religiosity and morality?
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:28 PM
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Ahahahahahahah.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:31 PM
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Haha, awesome.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:35 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pro..._of_Capitalism
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:37 PM
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As far as morality goes, absolutely not. Pretty much all the most moral people I've met in my life have been inversely correlated with their religiosity (at least insofar as things that matter, like caring about human rights, equality for minorities, justice and compassion, valuing education and reason, and so on). The more intensely religious they were, the more likely they were to draw lines in the sand against outsiders and accept certain cruelties and prejudices in society as necessary.

But work ethic? Maybe. Not being religious does kind of lower the psychological barrier to hedonism. If you feel like this is the only life you're going to get and aren't going to be rewarded for a lifetime of self-sacrificing labor in the next, you probably will place some higher value on personal comfort and enjoyment while you've got it. That's not to say there aren't other factors at work which can counteract this. It's not a slippery slope where abandoning god automatically turns us all into lazy blubber babies from Wall-E or anything. But it seems like that line of thought could follow.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:41 PM
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It's all about motivation, religious or not, religious people may be motivated by the promise of a reward for all their troubles in the end for living a productive life, and while seculars or atheists may not have that same motivation, they can be just as motivated by something else, maybe a more personal reason, so I'd say it's a reasonably educated guess, but not a rule of thumb by any definition.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:43 PM
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Way too many subjective things here. What do you mean by "work" and what do you mean by "harder"? What do you mean by "moral"?
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:48 PM
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I've also noticed atheists being more susceptible to things like depression as a pattern in the people I've known. You have to deal with personal problems very directly and are unable to look to a unified source that you're able to believe will definitively give you purpose and meaning. That can certainly feed into laziness and create that ugly feedback loop that many depressed people get into. Often dealing with hardship and trials is a matter of just gritting your teeth and pushing through them, and that whole "God has a plan thing" can help steel the resolve where it's very easy to second-guess and lose faith in a plan you know you've made up all on your own.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:49 PM
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you must try to lead a good life
you must do unto others as you would have them do
so that when you die you'll find golden boy peanuts waiting in the
afterlife for you

there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts

if thine enemy oppresseth you
you must let him oppress you some more
so that when you go shopping in paradise
you'll find those magnificent peanuts from singapore
with the drawing of the young chinese farmer
the eastern sun behind him smiling at you from the shelves
if we want to spend eternity in happiness
well we're gonna have watch ourselves
you must give to the march of dimes
you must be on guard against wickedness at all times
and you'll find that your efforts have brought you great joy
when your spirit is munching on that golden boy

there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts there
but the streets of heaven are lined with shelves
and there's billboards of the golden boy everywhere
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts
there are no pan asian supermarkets down in hell
so you can't buy golden boy peanuts... GO!
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2012, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reibeatall View Post
Altman be praised.
I can feel his love. I feel it in my bones. Rather a lot actually...
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:30 PM
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No, religious people don't work any harder than anyone. I've seen many religious people who are just as entitled and lazy as anyone. When i've noticed hard working religious folks, it's been more in the context of being hard working immigrants trying to get out of poverty, and their kids enjoying the fruit of their labor without having to work for it. Yes, the Puritan work ethic is a thing, and yes there is discipline in religion, but on an individual level, its a matter of choice.

As far as morality goes, there's no correlation between morality and religion. religion merely provides a template for morality. Some folks choose to follow the template, and others choose to roll their own.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:33 PM
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Men of God toil in the name of the Lord, for Ever and Ever.

Last edited by Wolfgang; 09-17-2012 at 05:37 PM. Reason: they toil in the soil
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:20 PM
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The Dalai Lama's sister-in-law is one of the laziest most entitled people I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. So no.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:51 PM
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Seculars rule and religoids drool.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:02 PM
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I'm a religious guy, and I'm lazy as hell.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorS View Post
I'm a religious guy, and I'm lazy as hell.
I am an atheist, and a true idler in the fashion of Lafargue. Come, brother, let us recline, perchance to sleep.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:11 PM
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outside of religion, the morals and ethics I picked up:

respect for nature (random older girl in daycare, Girl Scouting, lessons on ecology in school)
work ethic (my parents, positive reinforcement from teachers in school maybe?)
respect for different cultures (the internet)


in regards to what you were asking specifically, having left my previous faith, I don't feel the need to keep a supernatural score, and also do not feel ashamed if I do not want to work hard all the time. This is very similar to my feelings regarding sex and abstinence before and after leaving faith. Before, there was a need to keep score on a spiritual level regarding sexual desires and acts, but they would happen anyway; I just felt like an awful sinner afterwards, that's all.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega View Post
However, throughout my life I've been lazier than most people I know both in school and at work.
Cold, hard truth: Too many video games growing up. It's hard, I know.

We all know.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:13 AM
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no chrctlmt
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:17 AM
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I'm a lapsed lutheran and I have a middling work ethic I guess. I think my mom might still technically be a church member, but she doesn't attend services except maybe on christmas sometimes, and she's the hardest working person I know.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:31 AM
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Work smarter, not harder.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:37 AM
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I can't wait for this thread to eventually explode into a literal holy war.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:53 AM
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The constant mind-numbing stimulation of video games has trained you to be unable to accept anything less stimulating than full-on digital opium. You are lazy because no mundane daily task is as stimulating and no rewarding learning task tickles your reward centers as frequently or easily.

Video games rot your brain.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:02 AM
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I would like to think my first post in this thread provided a solid answer and should have been the last post in this thread as well (with the obvious modern-day exceptions being a given since obviously not all religious people are enterprising work mules.)

I hope this thread isn't stealth Obama campaign marketing research.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:33 AM
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I think the real question is : do they play harder?
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
I hope this thread isn't stealth Obama campaign marketing research.
Nonsense. Market research is work, and everyone knows liberals are too lazy to work.
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  #28  
Old 09-18-2012, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
Men of God toil in the name of the Lord, for Ever and Ever.
From Buechner's "Woyzeck":

WOYZECK: Us poor people. You see, Cap'n - money, money. If you
don't have money. Just try to raise your own kind on morality in
this world. After all, we're flesh and blood. The likes of us are
wretched in this world and in the next; I guess if we ever got to
Heaven, we'd have to help with the thunder.



Also, a maybe part of it is that you UU guys are so comparatively hippie-dippy. Get to work!

But, naw, some just people just got that DRIVE you know? 'Dat Mania.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega View Post
The friends and family I know who do work harder and set and achieve big goals were either raised in a fairly strong religious faith or at least in a family with strong ethnic traditions.

...

So, do you notice much of a correlation, or even causation, between religiosity (or ethnic tradition) and work ethic? Or at least the rabbi's original claim of religiosity and morality?
Shivam already nailed most of what I was going to say, but... serious question, WTF do you mean by "ethnic tradition?" From context, my best guess would be that you're coming from that mindset I encounter entirely too often where anyone who hasn't had everything handed to them seems to think that's the default, and anyone who had to struggle elected to do so as part of some weird ancient tradition that's supposed to build character or something.

And I mean, if that's what you meant then, yeah totally. If you grow up poor, you're going to have a better work ethic on average than someone who didn't, because the reward for any work you do is going to be something you are in desperate need of to survive, as opposed to just extra cash to blow on whatever/less reliance on whoever's been covering your tab.

These values don't get passed down to children, because this isn't something that gets passed on. This is something that gets experienced first hand. If you're lucky enough to actually manage to work your way up the social ladder, your kids are going to have more handed to them than you did, and thus be more likely to grow up to be lazy.

Religion really doesn't enter into the equation at all, beyond the fact that people who are really struggling are probably a bit more likely to pray for help with their horrible situation. And I suppose technically you could dock religious people some work ethic points from all those days they take off for religious reasons.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
From Buechner's "Woyzeck":
Exactly what I had in mind.
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