Sloth (deadly sin)

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Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, 1624, by Abraham Bloemaert. The "lazy peasants" sleep instead of work, representing the sin of sloth.

In Christianity, Sloth is about a person not wanting to work, because of their lack of motivation. The person will be physically inactive and neglect what God has said. Very often, this will lead to resources being wasted. As an example, sloth is about a person not helping those in need, even though they would be able to. Sloth is one of the seven capital sins, which are also called seven deadly sins.

For Protestants, Diligence (or hard work) is one of the ways to please God. Max Weber (1864-1920) treats this in his work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In his work "Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht", Immanuel Kant stated that of the capital sins sloth, cowardice and falsehood, the first one is the most despicable. However, he also sees this as a measure of self-protection of the individual, as long phases of hard work will lead a person to become tired, and to make short pauses between intervals of work. Without these pauses, the restless malice that is in the world would do a far greater amount of damage.[1] In 1846, Louis Blanc wrote about the right to work.[2] There was a financial crisis at the time, and many people were unemployed. The crisis led to the French Revolution of 1848. In 1880, the Socialist Paul Lafargue published an essay called The Right to be Lazy, where he explains that the worker should have a right to be lazy.

References[change | change source]

  1. Immanuel Kant (1798). Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht. pp. § 87.
  2. Revolutions of 1848: A Social History by Priscilla Robertson, 1952, Princeton University Press