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There are many religions like Islam, Judaism etc that have a very disciplined and orderly approach to life with lots of rules and guidelines even for seemingly trivial endeavors , Does this induce discipline and productivity in their work?

This stems from the motivation that there are many Jews and Medieval Muslims(when they were practicing) who have written gigantic volumes of work on literature, science, poetry etc in their own lifetime.

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guess depends on religion: if it is focused around maximizing personal productivity, I'd bet it helps –  Balog Pal Jun 27 '13 at 11:53
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I dont think this can be definitively answered because of the large number of combinations possible for religion, culture and individual traits. –  AsheeshR Jun 27 '13 at 16:17
    
If there was a notable claim to this effect I would suggest migrating to Skeptics. This may not be answerable objectively. –  Rory Alsop Jun 28 '13 at 18:15
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Athiests can also be very productive and creativee people are often the ones less likely to follow strict rules and yet they can be very productive. Even people in religions with strict rules often do not follow them. I think this question is like asking if you are more productive if you eat apples or if you eat steak. –  HLGEM Jun 28 '13 at 21:27
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5 Answers 5

I think it depends on how the person interprets the religious rules and teachings. In Islam for instance, there is wide spectrum of interpretations and life styles whose adherents consider that they are following Islam. Some interpretations motivate productivity and hard work, others justifies surrendering to the status quo and going with the majority instead of being creative and innovative in solving problems.

Related to this, it is interesting to read about the Protestant work ethics. Excerpt from the Wikipedia page: "The Protestant work ethic (or the Puritan work ethic) is a concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes hard work, frugality and diligence as a constant display of a person's salvation in the Christian faith, in contrast to the focus upon religious attendance, confession, and ceremonial sacrament in the Catholic tradition.

The phrase was initially coined in 1904 by Max Weber in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism".

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Concerning how an organized structure of religion affects your personal productivity: it depends on how you apply what you learn. You can follow an exceptionally strict form of Catholicism (just pulling a random religion) that says any deviation from your goals should be punished with physical suffering, but that won't make you focus on your goals any more than just applying yourself UNLESS you make it an influencial aspect of your lifestyle.

Anecdotal evidence (read: subjective) would be how certain members of my family are highly religious, but are basically deadbeats, and other people around me are highly productive but are atheist. And then there are some atheist friends who are deadbeats and some religious friends who are just as productive as non-religious. It really depends on how you apply your personal beliefs and values to your productivity.

In short: It will work only if you make a point of letting it.

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Willpower and self-control have been found to be improved through the imposition of discipline, and it's therefore unsurprisingly to find that numerous studies have found self-control to increase from religion (e.g., "Religion replenishes self-control").

The step from a religious inspired self-control to work productivity may not be as simple, however. Although, the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment shows the relationship between self-control and success in later life, it may be that the religious person chooses to focus their discipline into less worldly pursuits.

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+1: The only answer which backs up with evidence from research studies , this is the kind of answer I was searching for. –  Ali Jul 10 '13 at 4:17
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Very hard question. According to Wikipedia, religion is negatively correlated with wealth. If you believe that personal productivity correlates with aggregate income on a national level, then the statistics suggest that religion generally does not improve personal productivity.

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Hm, using that correlation assumes personal productivity is independent on the environment, and you could produce the same amount of wealth with same amount of work say in USA, in India and in Etiopia... –  Balog Pal Jun 27 '13 at 13:34
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Is it not equally likely that productive individuals work in low paying jobs? The correlation would then be negative with wealth but positive with productivity. Also, such stats will almost always be localized culturally. –  AsheeshR Jun 27 '13 at 16:12
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Most importantly I asked about highly disciplined and rule based religions like Islam, Judasim etc, these religion contain a huge corpus of rules and guidelines which in itself has become a science in that religion(Sharia law, Halakah resp.), productivity in religion would make you to follow more of the rules. e.g: Those who pray in mosque 5 times a day and remain active in learning the religion , so will such a disciplined behavior in such a religion would also translate into productivity at their work? –  Ali Jun 27 '13 at 17:20
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@Ali that is exactly what i have been trying to tell you in my answer.. A person who strictly follows his religion or belief is naturally more disciplined.. then discipline becomes a way of life.. as in Islam, judaism.. etc When dicipline is a way of life it translates to better productivity.. guess I'll add that to my answer.. –  Shaima Jul 6 '13 at 4:56
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I believe that it is not the presence of rules that affect your productivity, but the question of you following them. These guidelines guide us around, but whether a person follows them is more important.

No matter what your religion is or even if you are an atheist, you will have certain principles in your heart. Adhering to them strictly, makes a person disciplined.

After all an atheist also believes. He *believes** there is no God*
and he sticks to that belief.

Any person you see successful out there, sticks to his beliefs, core values, principles or whatever you call them.

A person who strictly follows his religion or belief is naturally more disciplined. Then discipline becomes a way of life as in Islam or Judaism. When discipline is a way of life it translates to better productivity.

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