Apostasy  

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If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [Namely], of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. — Book of Deuteronomy 13:6–10 on apostasy in Christianity

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Apostasy (IPA: /əˈpɒs.tə.si/,/əˈpɑs.tə.si/) is the formal religious disaffiliation or abandonment or renunciation of one's religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. In a technical sense, as used sometimes by sociologists without the pejorative connotations of the word, the term refers to renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, one's former religion. One who commits apostasy is an apostate, or one who apostatizes. The word derives from Greek αποστασία (apostasia), meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, "away, apart", στασις, stasis, "stand", "standing". The term is sometimes also used to refer to renunciation of a belief or cause by (generally facetious) extension of the religious connotation, such as in reference to a political party or a sports team.

Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: very few former believers call themselves apostates and they generally consider this term to be a pejorative. Many religious movements consider it a vice (sin), a corruption of the virtue of piety in the sense that when piety fails, apostasy is the result. Unlike apostasy, heresy is the rejection or corruption of certain doctrines, not the complete abandonment of one's religion. Heretics claim to still be following a religion (or even to be the "true believers"), whereas apostates reject it entirely.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Apostasy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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