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{{Redirect2|Apostate|Apostates|other uses|Apostate (disambiguation)}}{{Other uses|Apostasy (disambiguation)}}File:Apostasialogo.jpg|thumb|upright=0.8|Logo of The Campaign for Collective Apostasy in Spain, calling for defection from the Catholic Church ]](File:States with death penalty for apostasy.png|alt=|thumb|States with death penalty for apostasyWhich countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy? Pew Research Center, United States (May 2014))Apostasy ({{IPAc-en|ə|ˈ|p|ɒ|s|t|ə|s|i}}; apostasia, "a defection or revolt") is the formal disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion that is contrary to one's previous religious beliefs.WEB,weblink Mallet, Edme-François, and François-Vincent Toussaint. "Apostasy". The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Rachel LaFortune. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2012. Web. 1 April 2015. Trans. of "Apostasie", Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 1. Paris, 1751.,, 2015-08-16, One who undertakes apostasy is known as an apostate. Undertaking apostasy is called apostatizing (or apostasizing – also spelled apostacizing). The term apostasy is used by sociologists to mean the renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, a person's former religion, in a technical sense, with no pejorative connotation.Occasionally, the term is also used metaphorically to refer to the renunciation of a non-religious belief or cause, such as a political party, brain trust or a sports team.Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: few former believers call themselves apostates due to the term's negative connotation.Many religious groups and some states punish apostates; this may be the official policy of a particular religious group or it may simply be the voluntary action of its members. Such punishments may include shunning, excommunication, verbal abuse, physical violence or even execution.weblink" title="">Muslim apostates cast out and at risk from faith and family, The Times, February 05, 2005 Examples of punishment by death for apostates can be found in the Sharia law and they are currently imposed on apostates in certain Islamic countries. As of 2014, about a quarter of the world’s countries and territories (26%) had anti-blasphemy laws or policies,Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?, Pew Research Center, 29 July 2016. of which 13 nations, all Muslim-majority, have the death penalty for apostasy.WEB,weblink The countries where apostasy is punishable by death, 1 April 2016,, 20 September 2018,

Sociological definitions

The American sociologist Lewis A. Coser (following the German philosopher and sociologist Max Scheler{{Citation needed|date=August 2008}}) defines an apostate as not just a person who experienced a dramatic change in conviction but "a man who, even in his new state of belief, is spiritually living not primarily in the content of that faith, in the pursuit of goals appropriate to it, but only in the struggle against the old faith and for the sake of its negation."Lewis A. Coser The Age of the Informer Dissent:1249–54, 1954BOOK, David G. Bromley, Bromley, David G., (The Politics of Religious Apostasy, The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements), CT, Praeger Publishers, 1998, 0-275-95508-7, The American sociologist David G. Bromley defined the apostate role as follows and distinguished it from the defector and whistleblower roles.
  • Apostate role: defined as one that occurs in a highly polarized situation in which an organization member undertakes a total change of loyalties by allying with one or more elements of an oppositional coalition without the consent or control of the organization. The narrative documents the quintessentially evil essence of the apostate's former organization chronicled through the apostate's personal experience of capture and ultimate escape/rescue.
  • Defector role: an organizational participant negotiates exit primarily with organizational authorities, who grant permission for role relinquishment, control the exit process and facilitate role transmission. The jointly constructed narrative assigns primary moral responsibility for role performance problems to the departing member and interprets organizational permission as commitment to extraordinary moral standards and preservation of public trust.
  • Whistle-blower role: defined here as when an organization member forms an alliance with an external regulatory agency through personal testimony concerning specific, contested organizational practices that the external unit uses to sanction the organization. The narrative constructed jointly by the whistle blower and regulatory agency is depicts the whistle-blower as motivated by personal conscience, and the organization by defense of the public interest.
Stuart A. Wright, an American sociologist and author, asserts that apostasy is a unique phenomenon and a distinct type of religious defection in which the apostate is a defector "who is aligned with an oppositional coalition in an effort to broaden the dispute, and embraces public claims-making activities to attack his or her former group."BOOK, Wright, Stuart, A., Exploring Factors that Shape the Apostate Role, Bromley, David G., The Politics of Religious Apostasy, 109, Praeger Publishers, 1998, 0-275-95508-7,

Human rights

{{See also|Religious conversion}}The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, considers the recanting of a person's religion a human right legally protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert.WEB,weblink University of Minnesota Human Rights Library | CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22., 1993,, 2015-08-16, }}


As early as the 3rd century AD, apostasy against the Zoroastrian faith in the Sasanian Empire was criminalized. The high priest, Kidir, instigated pogroms against Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and others in effort to solidify the hold of the state religion.BOOK, Urubshurow, Victoria, Introducing World Religions,weblink 78, As the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its state religion, apostasy became formally criminalized in the Theodosian Code, followed by the Corpus Juris Civilis (the Justinian Code).BOOK, Oropeza, B. J., Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation, 2000,weblink 978-3161473074, 10, The Justinian Code went on to form the basis of law in most of Western Europe during the Middle Ages and so apostasy was similarly persecuted to varying degrees in Europe throughout this period and into the early modern period. Eastern Europe similarly inherited many of its legal traditions regarding apostasy from the Romans, but not from the Justinian Code.{{Citation needed|reason=no citation|date=December 2016}}With the rise of Islam came a relative religious tolerance in the Middle Eastern regions{{Citation needed|reason=no citation for statement|date=December 2016}}. Nevertheless, as the Middle Ages progressed, the successive Islamic caliphates began to enforce their own laws against apostasy, often modeled on those of the Romans and the Europeans.{{Citation needed|reason=no citation for statement|date=December 2016}}

Atrocity stories

The term "atrocity story" is controversial as it relates to the differing views amongst scholars about the credibility of the accounts of former members.Bryan R. Wilson, Reader Emeritus of Sociology of the University of Oxford, says apostates of new religious movements are generally in need of self-justification, seeking to reconstruct their past and to excuse their former affiliations, while blaming those who were formerly their closest associates. Wilson, thus, challenges the reliability of the apostate's testimony by saying that the apostate{{cquote|must always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations}}and{{cquote|the suspicion must arise that he acts from a personal motivation to vindicate himself and to regain his self-esteem, by showing himself to have been first a victim but subsequently to have become a redeemed crusader.}}Wilson also asserts that some apostates or defectors from religious organisations rehearse atrocity stories to explain how, by manipulation, coercion or deceit, they were recruited to groups that they now condemn.Wilson, Bryan R. Apostates and New Religious Movements (1994) (Available online) {{webarchive |url= |date=December 12, 2006 }}Jean Duhaime of the Université de Montréal writes, referring to Wilson, based on his analysis of three books by apostates of new religious movements, that stories of apostates cannot be dismissed only because they are subjective.Duhaime, Jean (Université de Montréal) Les Témoigagnes de Convertis et d'ex-Adeptes (English: The testimonies of converts and former followers, article that appeared in the otherwise English language book New Religions in a Postmodern World edited by Mikael Rothstein and Reender Kranenborg RENNER Studies in New religions Aarhus University press, {{ISBN|87-7288-748-6}}Danny Jorgensen, Professor at the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Florida, in his book The Social Construction and Interpretation of Deviance: Jonestown and the Mass Media argues that the role of the media in constructing and reflecting reality is particularly apparent in its coverage of cults. He asserts that this complicity exists partly because apostates with an atrocity story to tell make themselves readily available to reporters and partly because new religious movements have learned to be suspicious of the media and, therefore, have not been open to investigative reporters writing stories on their movement from an insider's perspective. Besides this lack of information about the experiences of people within new religious movements, the media is attracted to sensational stories featuring accusations of food and sleep deprivation, sexual and physical abuse, and excesses of spiritual and emotional authority by the charismatic leader.Jorgensen, Danny. The Social Construction and Interpretation of Deviance: Jonestown and the Mass Media as cited in McCormick Maaga, Mary, Hearing the Voices of Jonestown 1st ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1998) pp.39, {{ISBN|0-8156-0515-3}}Michael Langone argues that some will accept uncritically the positive reports of current members without calling such reports, for example, "benevolence tales" or "personal growth tales". He asserts that only the critical reports of ex-members are called "tales", which he considers to be a term that clearly implies falsehood or fiction. He states that it wasn't until 1996 that a researcher conducted a study to assess the extent to which so called "atrocity tales" might be based on fact.Zablocki, Benjamin, Reliability and validity of apostate accounts in the study of religious communities. Paper presented at the Association for the Sociology of Religion in New York City, Saturday, August 17, 1996.Langone, Michael, The Two "Camps" of Cultic Studies: Time for a Dialogue, Cults and Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2001 WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2007-11-20, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-09-27, Beith-Hallahmi, Benjamin Dear Colleagues: Integrity and Suspicion in NRM Research, 1997, weblink{{dead link|date=October 2016 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}

Contemporary criminalization of apostasy

{{further|Application of sharia law by country|Use of capital punishment by nation|Freedom of religion}}Historically, apostasy was considered a criminal offense in many societies, commonly likened with the crimes of treason, desertion, or mutiny. For instance, European converts from Christianity to Islam who sought refuge in the Barbary States or in the Ottoman Empire were termed "renegades" in the history of that region.As of 2014, twenty-five countries criminalize public apostasy. As of 2014, no country in the Americas or Europe had any law forbidding the renunciation of religious belief.WEB, Theodorou, Angelina E., Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?,weblink, Pew Research Center, 18 November 2018, Countries which make apostasy a capital offense are Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.Some countries included do not have actual anti-apostasy laws, however a Law Library of Congress report states their laws on blasphemy can be also utilised to try people for apostasy. These countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco. Oman, Pakistan, Syria, TunisiaLaws Criminalizing Apostasy in Selected JurisdictionThe following countries have criminal statutes that forbid apostasy or blasphemy:WEB,weblink Laws Criminalizing Apostasy, 12 April 2017, File:Map of countries with death penalty for atheists.svg|thumb|alt=Atheist Death Penalty Map|Countries (red) in which, as of 2013, apostasy or blasphemy against the local or state religion was punishable by execution under the law. Currently, this only occurs in some Muslim-majority countries.NEWS,weblink The 13 countries where being an atheist is punishable by death, 30 March 2016, Siobhan, Fenton, The Independent, 23 November 2016, WEB,weblink International Humanist and Ethical Union – You can be put to death for atheism in 13 countries around the world, 5 March 2015, WEB,weblink The Freedom of Thought Report, 2015, 500x500px(File:States with death penalty for apostasy.png|alt=|thumb|499x499px|States with death penalty for apostasyWhich countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy? Pew Research Center, United States (May 2014))
  • Afghanistan – illegal (death penalty, though the U.S. and other coalition members have exerted pressure which has prevented recent executions).BBC News, "Afghanistan treads religious tightrope", quote: "Others point out that no one has been executed for apostasy in Afghanistan even under the Taleban ... two Afghan editors accused of blasphemy both faced the death sentence, but one claimed asylum abroad and the other was freed after a short spell in jail."
  • Brunei – per recently enacted Sharia law, Section 112(1) of the Brunei Penal Code states that a Muslim who declares himself non-Muslim commits a crime that is punishable with death, or with up to 30 year imprisonment, depending on the type of evidence. However, if the accused has recanted his conversion, he may be acquitted of the crime of apostasy.WEB,weblink Laws Criminalizing Apostasy, 12 April 2017,
  • ComorosWEB,weblink Laws Penalizing Blasphemy, Apostasy and Defamation of Religion are Widespread, 21 November 2012, Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 2015-03-17,
  • Iran – not in the Penal Code.WEB,weblink Laws Criminalizing Apostasy, 13 February 2016,
  • Jordan – possibly illegal (fine, child custody loss, marriage annulment) although officials claim otherwise, convictions are recorded for apostasyPeter, Tom A. (30 May 2010) "A poet faces death for 'killing' God". Global Post.PRESS RELEASE,weblink Convert to Christianity flees Jordan under threat to lose custody of his children, 24 April 2008, Middle East Concern, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 September 2015, Mortimer, Jasper (27 March 2006). "Conversion Prosecutions Rare to Muslims". Washington Post (AP).
  • Kuwait – Apostasy is not illegal in Kuwait,WEB,weblink KUWAIT - Hussein Qambar ’Ali: Death threats, Amnesty International, 2–3, WEB,weblink Country Advice Kuwait, Australian Government, WEB,weblink Amnesty International Report 1997 - Kuwait, Amnesty International, although apostasy is penalized in family courts for Muslims. For Muslims, apostasy in family court can result in loss of child custody, inheritance rights, annulment if married to a Muslim.
  • Malaysia – illegal in five of thirteen states (fines) if they do not get conversion permission from Sharia court.WEB,weblink Malaysia 2015 International Religious Freedom Report - U.S. Embassy in Malaysia, 11 August 2016,
  • Maldives- illegal for Muslim nationals (loss of citizenship).WEB,weblink MALDIVES 2012 INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT, 2012, 2015-08-05, WEB, Maldives: non-Muslims to lose citizenship : News :: Inspire Magazine,weblink, 2015-08-05, Illegal to proselytise for religions other than Islam.
  • Mauritania – illegal (death penalty if still apostate after 3 days)WEB,weblink 14 June 2012, MAURITANIA, 2014-10-10,
  • Morocco – not illegal, but official Islamic council decreed apostates should be put to death.Laws Criminalizing Apostasy (PDF). Library of Congress (May 2014). Illegal to proselytise for religions other than Islam (six months to three years imprisonment)WEB,weblink Organization data,, PDF,
  • Oman – illegal (prison) according to Article 209 of Oman penal code, and denies child custody rights under Article 32 of Personal Status Law
  • Qatar – illegal (death penalty)
  • Saudi Arabia – illegal (flogging, imprisonment and death penalty, although there have been no recently reported executions)NEWS, Eteraz, Ali,weblink Supporting Islam's apostates, 17 September 2007, the Guardian, London, 2015-03-17,
  • Somalia – illegal (death penalty)NEWS,weblink Somali executed for 'apostasy', 16 January 2009, BBC News, 2015-03-17, NEWS, Evans, Robert,weblink Atheists face death in 13 countries, global discrimination: study, 9 December 2013, Reuters,
  • Sudan – illegal (death penalty)NEWS, Sudan woman faces death for apostasy, BBC News,weblink 15 May 2014, 2014-05-16,
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates – illegal (3 years' imprisonment, death penalty)WEB,weblink Crimes punishable by death in the UAE include...apostasy,, 2014-10-10,
  • Yemen – illegal (death penalty)
From 1985 to 2006, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom listed a total of four cases of execution for apostasy in the Muslim world: one in Sudan (1985), two in Iran (1989, 1998), and one in Saudi Arabia (1992).

Religious views


{{see also|Covenant-breaker|Freedom of religion in Iran|List of former Bahá'ís}}Both marginal and apostate Baha'is have existed in the Baha'i communityJOURNAL, Momen, Moojan, Marginality and apostasy in the Baha'i community, Religion, 1 September 2007, 37, 3, 187–209, 10.1016/j.religion.2007.06.008, who are known as nāqeżīn.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Afshar, Iraj, August 18, 2011, ĀYATĪ, ʿABD-AL-ḤOSAYN, Encyclopædia Iranica,weblink Muslims often regard adherents of the Bahá'í faith as apostates from Islam,WEB,weblink The Baabis and Baha’is are not Muslims -,, 2014-10-10, and there have been cases in some Muslim countries where Baha'is have been harassed and persecuted.WEB,weblink Apostates from Islam | The Weekly Standard,, 2014-10-10,


{{See also|Apostata capiendo|Backsliding}}The Christian understanding of apostasy is "a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christian truth. Apostasy is the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian ...", though certain Protestants believe that biblically this is impossible ('once saved, forever saved').Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Greek and Latin Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, 41. The Tyndale Bible Dictionary defines apostasy as a "Turning against God, as evidenced by abandonment and repudiation of former beliefs. The term generally refers to a deliberate renouncing of the faith by a once sincere believer ..." ("Apostasy," Walter A. Elwell and Philip W. Comfort, editors, 95). "Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion."Paul W. Barnett, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments, "Apostasy," 73. Scott McKnight says, "Apostasy is a theological category describing those who have voluntarily and consciously abandoned their faith in the God of the covenant, who manifests himself most completely in Jesus Christ" (Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible, "Apostasy," 58). B. J. Oropeza states that apostasy is a "phenomenon that occurs when a religious follower or group of followers turn away from or otherwise repudiate the central beliefs and practices they once embraced in a respective religious community."B. J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors :Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, vol. 1 (Eugene: Cascade, 2011), p. 1; idem, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, vol. 2 (2012), p. 1; idem, Churches under Siege of Persecution and Assimilation: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, vol.3 (2012), p. 1. The Ancient Greek noun ἀποστασία apostasia ("rebellion, abandonment, state of apostasy, defection")Walter Bauder, "Fall, Fall Away," The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDNTT), 3:606. is found only twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).Michael Fink, "Apostasy," in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 87. In Acts 21:21, "Paul was falsely accused of teaching the Jews apostasy from Moses ... [and] he predicted the great apostasy from Christianity, foretold by Jesus (Matt. 24:10-12), which would precede 'the Day of the Lord' (2 Thess. 2:2f.)" (D. M. Pratt, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "Apostasy," 1:192). Some pre-tribulation adherents in Protestantism believe that the apostasy mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:3 can be interpreted as the pre-tribulation Rapture of all Christians. This is because apostasy means departure (translated so in the first seven English translations) (Dr. Thomas Ice, Pre-Trib Perspective, March 2004, Vol.8, No.11). However, "the concept of apostasy is found throughout Scripture."Pratt, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1:192. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery states that "There are at least four distinct images in Scripture of the concept of apostasy. All connote an intentional defection from the faith.""Apostasy," 39. These images are: Rebellion; Turning Away; Falling Away; Adultery.Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 39.
  • Rebellion: "In classical literature apostasia was used to denote a coup or defection. By extension the Septuagint always uses it to portray a rebellion against God (Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19)."
  • Turning away: "Apostasy is also pictured as the heart turning away from God (Jeremiah 17:5-6) and righteousness (Ezekiel 3:20). In the OT it centers on Israel's breaking covenant relationship with God through disobedience to the law (Jeremiah 2:19), especially following other gods (Judges 2:19) and practicing their immorality (Daniel 9:9-11) ... Following the Lord or journeying with him is one of the chief images of faithfulness in the Scriptures ... The ... Hebrew root (swr) is used to picture those who have turned away and ceased to follow God ('I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me,' 1 Samuel 15:11) ... The image of turning away from the Lord, who is the rightful leader, and following behind false gods is the dominant image for apostasy in the OT."
  • Falling away: "The image of falling, with the sense of going to eternal destruction, is particularly evident in the New Testament ... In his [Christ's] parable of the wise and foolish builder, in which the house built on sand falls with a crash in the midst of a storm (Matthew 7:24-27) ... he painted a highly memorable image of the dangers of falling spiritually."Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 39. Paul Barnett says, "Jesus foresaw the fact of apostasy and warned both those who would fall into sin as well as those who would cause others to fall (see, e.g., Mark 9:42-49)." (Dictionary of the Later NT, 73).
  • Adultery: One of the most common images for apostasy in the Old Testament is adultery. "Apostasy is symbolized as Israel the faithless spouse turning away from Yahweh her marriage partner to pursue the advances of other gods (Jeremiah 2:1-3; Ezekiel 16) ... 'Your children have forsaken me and sworn by god that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes' (Jeremiah 5:7, NIV). Adultery is used most often to describe the horror of the betrayal and covenant breaking involved in idolatry. Like literal adultery it does include the idea of someone blinded by infatuation, in this case for an idol: 'How I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts ... which have lusted after their idols' (Ezekiel 6:9)."
Speaking with specific regard to apostasy in Christianity, Michael Fink writes:Apostasy is certainly a biblical concept, but the implications of the teaching have been hotly debated.McKnight adds: "Because apostasy is disputed among Christian theologians, it must be recognized that ones overall hermeneutic and theology (including ones general philosophical orientation) shapes how one reads texts dealing with apostasy." Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible, 59. The debate has centered on the issue of apostasy and salvation. Based on the concept of God's sovereign grace, some hold that, though true believers may stray, they never totally fall away. Others affirm that any who fall away were never really saved. Though they may have "believed" for a while, they never experienced regeneration. Still others argue that the biblical warnings against apostasy are real and that believers maintain the freedom, at least potentially, to reject God's salvation.Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, "Apostasy," 87.In the recent past, in the Roman Catholic Church the word was also applied to the renunciation of monastic vows (apostasis a monachatu), and to the abandonment of the clerical profession for the life of the world (apostasis a clericatu) without necessarily amounting to a rejection of Christianity.{{sfn|Chisholm|1911}}


Classical canon law viewed apostasy as distinct from heresy and schism. Apostasy a fide, defined as total repudiation of the Christian faith, was considered as different from a theological standpoint from heresy, but subject to the same penalty of death by fire by decretist jurists.BOOK,weblink 46, Contesting Orthodoxy in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Heresy, Magic and Witchcraft, Louise Nyholm Kallestrup, Louise Nyholm Kallestrup, Raisa Maria Toivo, Springer, 2017, The influential 13th century theologian Hostiensis recognized three types of apostasy. The first was conversion to another faith, which was considered traitorous and could bring confiscation of property or even the death penalty. The second and third, which was punishable by expulsion from home and imprisonment, consisted of breaking major commandments and breaking the vows of religious orders, respectively.BOOK,weblink 112, The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England, 1050-1300, Gillian Polack, Katrin Kania, Amberley Publishing Limited, 2015, A decretal by Boniface VIII classified apostates together with heretics with respect to the penalties incurred. Although it mentioned only apostate Jews explicitly, it was applied to all apostates, and the Spanish Inquisition used it to persecute both the Marrano Jews, who had been converted to Christianity by force, and to the Moriscos who had professed to convert to Christianity from Islam under pressure.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Van Hove, A., 1907, Apostasy, The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: Robert Appleton Company,weblink Temporal penalties for Christian apostates have fallen into disuse in the modern era.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witness publications define apostasy as the abandonment of the worship and service of God, constituting rebellion against God.Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, p. 34-35. They apply the term to a range of conduct, including open dissent with the religion's doctrines, celebration of "false religious holidays" (including Christmas and Easter), and participation in activities and worship of other religions.Shepherd the Flock of God, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2010, p. 65-66. Members of the religion who are accused of apostasy are typically required to appear before a congregational judicial committee, by which they may be "disfellowshipped"—the most severe of the religion's disciplinary procedures that involves expulsion from the religion and shunning by all congregants, including immediate family members not living in the same home.BOOK, Holden, Andrew, Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement, Routledge, 2002, 0-415-26610-6, 32, 78–79, Baptized individuals who leave the organization because they disagree with the religion's teachings are also regarded as apostates and are shunned.JOURNAL, The Watchtower, 21–25, January 15, 2006,weblink Do Not Allow Place for the Devil, Watch Tower Society literature describes apostates as "mentally diseased" individuals who can "infect others with their disloyal teachings".Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28:5 [2004], p. 42–43NEWS, Taylor, Jerome,weblink War of words breaks out among Jehovah's Witnesses, 26 September 2011, The Independent, 13 February 2016, Former members who are defined as apostates are said to have become part of the antichrist and are regarded as more reprehensible than non-Witnesses.Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, July 15, 1985, page 31, "Such ones willfully abandoning the Christian congregation thereby become part of the ‘antichrist.’ A person who had willfully and formally disassociated himself from the congregation would have matched that description. By deliberately repudiating God’s congregation and by renouncing the Christian way, he would have made himself an apostate. A loyal Christian would not have wanted to fellowship with an apostate ... Scripturally, a person who repudiated God’s congregation became more reprehensible than those in the world."


Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormons) are considered by church leadership to engage in apostasy when they publicly teach or espouse opinions and doctrines contrary to the teachings of the church. Apostasy is also assumed in cases of a member engaging in activities forbidden by the church's teachings, such as adultery or homosexual relations. In such circumstances the church will frequently subject the non-conforming member to a disciplinary council which may result in disfellowshipment (a temporary loss of church participation privileges) or excommunication (a semi-permanent loss of church membership). The nature of the disciplinary council varies with the member's standing within the church as men's cases are often heard by a much larger group than women's.


Hinduism does not have a "unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith or a creed"BOOK, An Introduction to Hinduism, Flood, Gavin D, Cambridge University Press, 1996, 9780521438780, 6, , but is rather an umbrella term comprising the plurality of religious phenomena of India. In general Hinduism is more tolerant to apostasy than other faiths based on a scripture or commandments with a lower emphasis on orthodoxy and has a more open view on how a person chooses his faith.K. J. Ratnam, Intellectuals, Creativity and Intolerance Some Hindu sects believe that ethical conversion, without force or reward is completely acceptableBOOK, How to become a Hindu, Subramuniyaswami, Sivaya, Himalayan Academy, 2000, 978-0945497820,weblink 133 forwards, .The Vashistha Dharmasastra, the Apastamba Dharmasutra and Yajnavalkya state that a son of an apostate is also considered an apostate.{{sfn|Banerji|1999|p=196}} Smr̥ticandrikā lists apostates as one group of people upon touching whom, one should take a bath.{{sfn|Banerji|1999|p=185}} Kātyāyana condemns a Brahmin who has apostatised to banishment while a Vaishya or a Shudra to serve the king.{{sfn|Banerji|1999|p=226}} Nāradasmṛti and Parasara-samhita states that a wife can remarry if her husband becomes an apostate.{{sfn|Banerji|1999|p=82}} The saint Parashara commented that religious rites are disturbed if an apostate witnesses them.Stories of the Hindus: an introduction through texts and interpretation: 182, Macmillan He also comments that that those who forgo the Rig Veda, Samaveda and Yajurveda are "nagna" (naked) or an apostate.T.A. Gopinath Rao, Elements of Hindu Iconography, Volume 1, Part 1: 217, Motilal Banarsidas Publishers


{{See also|Tirthika}}Apostasy is generally not acknowledged in orthodox Buddhism. People are free to leave Buddhism and renounce the religion without any consequence enacted by the Buddhist community.Bhante Shravasti Dhammika, Guide to Buddhism A-Z, accessed 23 June 2018Despite this marked tolerance, some Buddhist circles hold to a notion of heresy (外道, pinyin: Wàidào; romaji: gedō; lit. "outside path") and acknowledge that one who renounces the Buddha's teachings has the potential of inflicting suffering on themselves.WEB, Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu, Dangers on the Voyage,weblink 2019-08-31, 21:45, In some religions, they kill you. They hunt you down and kill you...But in Buddhism, if you leave, we don't have to do anything. There's no punishment for apostasy, because non-Buddhists can be very good people. But, if you go contrary to the Buddha's teaching--it's like God. If God tells you you have to do "this" or "that" and you don't do it, [and] you do the opposite, [then] God punishes you. Well, in Buddhism...he doesn't punish you, because the Buddha's teaching is based on wisdom. There's no need to punish anyone. If you don't do the things the Buddha said, you won't be free from suffering. If you do the things the Buddha told you not to do, you can be assured of suffering.,


File:Rechtsgutachten betr Apostasie im Islam.jpg|thumb|300 px|A 1978 fatwa (nonbinding legal opinion) issued by the Fatawa Council at Al-Azhar, the chief centre of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world.Al-Azhar, Encyclopædia Britannica The fatwa was issued in response to a query about a Egyptian Muslim man marrying a German Christian woman and then converting to Christianity. The council ruled that the man committed the crime of apostasy, and should be given a chance to repent and return to Islam. If he refuses, he is to be killed. The same conclusion was given for his children once they reach the age of pubertypubertyIn Islamic literature, apostasy is called irtidād or ridda; an apostate is called murtadd, which literally means 'one who turns back' from Islam.Heffening, W. (2012), "Murtadd." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs; Brill Someone born to a Muslim parent, or who has previously converted to Islam, becomes a murtadd if he or she verbally denies any principle of belief prescribed by Quran or a Hadith, deviates from approved Islamic belief (ilhad), or if he or she commits an action such as treating a copy of the Qurʾan with disrespect.Watt, W. M. (1964). Conditions of membership of the Islamic Community, Studia Islamica, (21), pages 5–12Burki, S. K. (2011). Haram or Halal? Islamists' Use of Suicide Attacks as Jihad. Terrorism and Political Violence, 23(4), pages 582–601Rahman, S. A. (2006). Punishment of apostasy in Islam, Institute of Islamic Culture, IBT Books; {{ISBN|983-9541-49-8}} A person born to a Muslim parent who later rejects Islam is called a murtad fitri, and a person who converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a murtad milli.Mousavian, S. A. A. (2005). A DISCUSSION ON THE APOSTATE'S REPENTANCE IN SHI'A JURISPRUDENCE. Modarres Human Sciences, 8, TOME 37, pages 187–210, Mofid University (Iran).Advanced Islamic English dictionary Расширенный исламский словарь английского языка (2012), see entry for Fitri MurtadAdvanced Islamic English dictionary Расширенный исламский словарь английского языка (2012), see entry for Milli MurtadThere are multiple verses in the Quran that condemn apostasy,See chapters 3, 9 and 16 of Quran; e.g. {{quran-usc|3|90}} * {{quran-usc|9|66}} * {{quran-usc|16|88}} including one that appears to support the death penalty.{{quran-usc|4|89}} In addition, there are multiple well-attested Hadiths that include statements supporting the death penalty for apostasy.See Sahih al-Bukhari, {{Hadith-usc|Bukhari|usc=yes|4|52|260}} * {{Hadith-usc|Bukhari|usc=yes|9|83|17}} * {{Hadith-usc|Bukhari|usc=yes|9|89|271}} The minority of modern Ulama argue that the Hadith that openly call for the death penalty are in contradiction of the Quran, where apostasy is more often unforgivable, subject to Allah's wrath, or punishable by hell See Chapters 88, 4, 16, 50, 42, 24, 18 and 13 of Quran; e.g. {{quran-usc|88|21}}*{{quran-usc|4|137}}*{{quran-usc|16|106}}*{{quran-usc|50|45}}*{{quran-usc|42|6}}*{{quran-usc|42|48}}*{{quran-usc|24|54}}*{{quran-usc|18|29}}*{{quran-usc|16|82}}*{{quran-usc|13|40}}. Although this influence has stemmed from the Ahmadiyya view point on apostasy through their constant preaching and defending of "True islamic teachings." In which they state there isn't a death punishment for apostasy.BOOK,weblink The Truth about the Alleged Punishment for Apostasy in Islam, Islam International Publications, 1-85372-850-0, 2014-03-31, Their founder wrote a book comparing both the Ahl-i Hadith AKA Ahl al-Hadith and Quranist views respectively, and came to the conclusion that the Quran should be put first and then hadiths. For 1400 years and still ongoing Sunni and Shia Jurists have been killing apostates based on hadiths. The concept and punishment of Apostasy has been extensively covered in Islamic literature since the 7th century.Saeed, A., & Saeed, H. (Eds.). (2004). Freedom of religion, apostasy and Islam. Ashgate Publishing; {{ISBN|0-7546-3083-8}} A person is considered apostate if he or she converts from Islam to another religion.Paul Marshall and Nina Shea (2011), SILENCED: HOW APOSTASY AND BLASPHEMY CODES ARE CHOKING FREEDOM WORLDWIDE, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-19-981228-8}} A person is an apostate even if he or she believes in most of Islam, but denies one or more of its principles or precepts, both verbally or in writing. Similarly, doubting the existence of Allah, making offerings to and worshipping an idol, a stupa or any other image of God, confesses a belief in the rebirth or incarnation of God, disrespecting the Quran or Islam's Prophets are all considered sufficient evidence of apostasy.Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009), Encyclopedia of Islam, Infobase Publishing, {{ISBN|978-1-4381-2696-8}}; see page 48, 108-109, 118Peters, R., & De Vries, G. J. (1976). Apostasy in Islam. Die Welt des Islams, 1-25.Warraq, I. (Ed.). (2003). Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out. Prometheus Books; {{ISBN|1-59102-068-9}}Many Muslims consider the Islamic law on apostasy and the punishment for it to be one of the immutable laws under Islam.Arzt, Donna (1995). Heroes or heretics: Religious dissidents under Islamic law, Wis. Int'l Law Journal, 14, 349-445 It is a hudud crime,Mansour, A. A. (1982). Hudud Crimes (From Islamic Criminal Justice System, P 195–201, 1982, M Cherif Bassiouni, ed.-See NCJ-87479).Lippman, M. (1989). Islamic Criminal Law and Procedure: Religious Fundamentalism v. Modern Law. BC Int'l & Comp. L. Rev., 12, pages 29, 263-269 which means it is a crime against God,Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009), Encyclopedia of Islam, Infobase Publishing, {{ISBN|978-1-4381-2696-8}}; see page 174 and the punishment has been fixed by God. The punishment for apostasy includesTamadonfar, M. (2001). Islam, law, and political control in contemporary Iran, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40(2), 205-220. state enforced annulment of his or her marriage, seizure of the person's children and property with automatic assignment to guardians and heirs, and death for the apostate.El-Awa, M. S. (1981), Punishment in Islamic Law, American Trust Pub; pages 49–68Forte, D. F. (1994). Apostasy and Blasphemy in Pakistan. Conn. J. Int'l L., 10, 27.According to some scholars, if a Muslim consciously and without coercion declares their rejection of Islam and does not change their mind after the time allocated by a judge for research, then the penalty for male apostates is death, and for females it is life imprisonment.Ibn Warraq (2003), Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out, {{ISBN|978-1591020684}}, pp 1-27Schneider, I. (1995), Imprisonment in Pre-classical and Classical Islamic Law, Islamic Law and Society, 2(2): 157-173According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, there is no punishment for apostasy, neither in the Quran nor as it was taught by Muhammad.BOOK,weblink The Truth about the Alleged Punishment for Apostasy in Islam, Islam International Publications, 1-85372-850-0, 2014-03-31, The Ahmadiyya Muslim sect's position is not widely accepted by clerics in other sects of Islam, and the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam acknowledges that major sects have a different interpretation and definition of apostasy in Islam.{{rp|18–25}} Ulama of major sects of Islam consider the Ahmadi Muslim sect as kafirs (infidels){{rp|8}} and apostates.Khan, A. M. (2003), Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 16, 217Andrew March (2011), Apostasy: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0199805969}}Today, apostasy is a crime in 16 out of 49 Muslim majority countries; in other Muslim nations such as Morocco, apostasy is not illegal but proselytizing to Muslims is. It is subject to the death penalty in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, although executions for apostasy are rare. Apostasy is legal in secular Muslim countries such as Turkey.BOOK, Badawi M.A., Zaki, Islam, Encyclopedia of religious freedom, Cookson, Catharine, Routledge, New York, 2003, 204–8, 0-415-94181-4,weblink In numerous Islamic majority countries, many individuals have been arrested and punished for the crime of apostasy without any associated capital crimes.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: Writer Faces Apostasy Trial - Human Rights Watch, 2015-03-17, WEB, The Fate of Infidels and Apostates under Islam,weblink 13 February 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 3 November 2013, 21 June 2005, Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam by Abdullah Saeed and Hassan Saeed (Mar 30, 2004), {{ISBN|978-0-7546-3083-8}} In a 2013 report based on an international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of the Muslim population in 6 Islamic countries supported the death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy).WEB,weblink Majorities of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan support the death penalty for leaving Islam, Washington Post, 2015-03-17, WEB,weblink The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, April 30, 2013,, 2015-08-16, A similar survey of the Muslim population in the United Kingdom, in 2007, found nearly a third of 16 to 24-year-old faithfuls believed that Muslims who convert to another religion should be executed, while less than a fifth of those over 55 believed the same.WEB, Bates, Stephen,weblink More young Muslims back sharia, says poll, the Guardian, 2015-03-17, Muslim historians recognize 632 AD as the year when the first regional apostasy from Islam emerged, immediately after the death of Muhammed.WEB,weblink riddah - Islamic history, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015-03-17, The civil wars that followed are now called the Riddah wars (Wars of Islamic Apostasy).


{{See also|Off the derech}}File:141.Mattathias and the Apostate.jpg|thumb|MattathiasMattathiasThe term apostasy is derived from Ancient Greek ἀποστασία from ἀποστάτης, meaning "political rebel," as applied to rebellion against God, its law and the faith of Israel (in Hebrew מרד) in the Hebrew Bible. Other expressions for apostate as used by rabbinical scholars are mumar (מומר, literally "the one that is changed") and poshea yisrael (פושע ישראל, literally, "transgressor of Israel"), or simply kofer (כופר, literally "denier" and heretic).The Torah states:}}In 1 Kings King Solomon is warned in a dream which "darkly portray[s] the ruin that would be caused by departure from God":Alexander MacLaren, MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture on 1 Kings 9, accessed 7 October 2017}}The prophetic writings of Isaiah and Jeremiah provide many examples of defections of faith found among the Israelites (e.g., Isaiah 1:2–4 or Jeremiah 2:19), as do the writings of the prophet Ezekiel (e.g., Ezekiel 16 or 18). Israelite kings were often guilty of apostasy, examples including Ahab (I Kings 16:30–33), Ahaziah (I Kings 22:51–53), Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:6,10), Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:1–4), or Amon (2 Chronicles 33:21–23) among others. Amon's father Manasseh was also apostate for many years of his long reign, although towards the end of his life he renounced his apostasy (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:1–19).In the Talmud, Elisha ben Abuyah is singled out as an apostate and Epikoros (Epicurean) by the Pharisees.During the Spanish Inquisition, a systematic conversion of Jews to Christianity took place to avoid expulsion from the kingdoms of Castille and Aragon as had been the case previously elsewhere in medieval Europe. Although the vast majority of conversos simply assimilated into the Catholic dominant culture, a minority continued to practice Judaism in secret, gradually migrated throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Ottoman Empire, mainly to areas where Sephardic communities were already present as a result of the Alhambra Decree. Tens of thousands of Jews were baptised in the three months before the deadline for expulsion, some 40,000 if one accepts the totals given by Kamen, most of these undoubtedly to avoid expulsion,Kamen (1998), pp. 29–31 rather than as a sincere change of faith. These conversos were the principal concern of the Inquisition; being suspected of continuing to practice Judaism put them at risk of denunciation and trial.Several notorious Inquisitors, such as Tomás de Torquemada, and Don Francisco the archbishop of Coria, were descendants of apostate Jews. Other apostates who made their mark in history by attempting the conversion of other Jews in the 14th century include Juan de Valladolid and Astruc Remoch.Abraham Isaac Kook,template.htm Introduction to the Thought of Rav Kookby, Lecture #16: "Kefira" in our Day from (the Virtual Beit Midrash)template.htm Introduction to the Thought of Rav Kookby, Lecture #17: Heresy V from (the Virtual Beit Midrash) first Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in then Palestine, held that atheists were not actually denying God: rather, they were denying one of man's many images of God. Since any man-made image of God can be considered an idol, Kook held that, in practice, one could consider atheists as helping true religion burn away false images of god, thus in the end serving the purpose of true monotheism.Medieval Judaism was more lenient toward apostasy than the other monotheistic religions. According to Maimonides, converts to other faiths were to be regarded as sinners, but still Jewish. Forced converts were subject to special prayers and Rashi admonished those who rebuked or humiliated them.BOOK,weblink 112, The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England, 1050-1300, Gillian Polack, Katrin Kania, Amberley Publishing Limited, 2015, There is no punishment today for leaving Judaism, other than being excluded from participating in the rituals of the Jewish community - including leading worship, Jewish marriage or divorce, being called to the Torah and being buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Other religious movements

Controversies over new religious movements (NRMs) have often involved apostates, some of whom join organizations or web sites opposed to their former religions. A number of scholars have debated the reliability of apostates and their stories, often called "apostate narratives".The role of former members, or "apostates", has been widely studied by social scientists. At times, these individuals become outspoken public critics of the groups they leave. Their motivations, the roles they play in the anti-cult movement, the validity of their testimony, and the kinds of narratives they construct, are controversial. Some scholars like David G. Bromley, Anson Shupe, and Brian R. Wilson have challenged the validity of the testimonies presented by critical former members. Wilson discusses the use of the atrocity story that is rehearsed by the apostate to explain how, by manipulation, coercion, or deceit, he was recruited to a group that he now condemns.Wilson, Bryan R. Apostates and New Religious Movements, Oxford, England, 1994Sociologist Stuart A. Wright explores the distinction between the apostate narrative and the role of the apostate, asserting that the former follows a predictable pattern, in which the apostate uses a "captivity narrative" that emphasizes manipulation, entrapment and being victims of "sinister cult practices". These narratives provide a rationale for a "hostage-rescue" motif, in which cults are likened to POW camps and deprogramming as heroic hostage rescue efforts. He also makes a distinction between "leavetakers" and "apostates", asserting that despite the popular literature and lurid media accounts of stories of "rescued or recovering 'ex-cultists'", empirical studies of defectors from NRMs "generally indicate favorable, sympathetic or at the very least mixed responses toward their former group".BOOK, Wright, Stuart, A., Exploring Factors that Shape the Apostate Role, Bromley, David G., The Politics of Religious Apostasy, 95–114, Praeger Publishers, 1998, 0-275-95508-7, One camp that broadly speaking questions apostate narratives includes David G. Bromley,BOOK, Bromley, David G., David G. Bromley, etal, The Role of Anecdotal Atrocities in the Social Construction of Evil, Bromley, David G., etal, Brainwashing Deprogramming Controversy: Sociological, Psychological, Legal, and Historical Perspectives (Studies in religion and society), 156, 1984, 0-88946-868-0, Daniel Carson Johnson,BOOK, Richardson, James T., Apostates Who Never Were: The Social Construction of Absque Facto Apostate Narratives, Bromley, David G., The politics of religious apostasy: the role of apostates in the transformation of religious movements, Praeger, New York, 1998, 134–5, 0-275-95508-7, Dr. Lonnie D. Kliever (1932–2004),Kliever 1995 Kliever. Lonnie D, Ph.D. The Reliability of Apostate Testimony About New Religious Movements {{webarchive|url= |date=2007-12-05 }}, 1995. Gordon Melton,"Melton 1999"Melton, Gordon J., Brainwashing and the Cults: The Rise and Fall of a Theory, 1999. and Bryan R. Wilson.Wilson, Bryan R. (Ed.) The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism, Rose of Sharon Press, 1981. An opposing camp less critical of apostate narratives as a group includes Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi,Beit-Hallahmi 1997 Beith-Hallahmi, Benjamin Dear Colleagues: Integrity and Suspicion in NRM Research{{dead link|date=October 2016|bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}, 1997. Dr. Phillip Charles Lucas,WEB,weblink" title="">weblink 2004-01-31,weblink Lucas, Phillip Charles Ph.D. – Profile, dead, WEB,weblink Holy Order of MANS, 2008-01-04,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2008, live, Lucas 1995 Lucas, Phillip Charles, From Holy Order of MANS to Christ the Savior Brotherhood: The Radical Transformation of an Esoteric Christian Order in Timothy Miller (ed.), America's Alternative Religions State University of New York Press, 1995 Jean Duhaime,Duhaime, Jean (Université de Montréal) Les Témoignages de convertis et d'ex-adeptes (English: The testimonies of converts and former followers, in Mikael Rothstein et al. (ed.), New Religions in a Postmodern World, 2003, {{ISBN|87-7288-748-6}} Mark Dunlop,WEB,weblink The Culture of Cults,, 2014-10-10, Dunlop 2001 The Culture of Cults {{webarchive|url= |date=2007-12-12 }} Michael Langone,The Two "Camps" of Cultic Studies: Time for a Dialogue {{webarchive |url= |date=September 27, 2007 }} Langone, Michael, Cults and Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2001 and Benjamin Zablocki.Zablocki 1996 Zablocki, Benjamin, Reliability and validity of apostate accounts in the study of religious communities. Paper presented at the Association for the Sociology of Religion in New York City, Saturday, August 17, 1996.Some scholars have attempted to classify apostates of NRMs. James T. Richardson proposes a theory related to a logical relationship between apostates and whistleblowers, using Bromley's definitions,BOOK, Richardson, James T., Apostates, Whistleblowers, Law, and Social Control, Bromley, David G., in The politics of religious apostasy: the role of apostates in the transformation of religious movements, 0-275-95508-7, Praeger, New York, 1998, 171, Some of those who leave, whatever the method, become "apostates" and even develop into "whistleblowers", as those terms are defined in the first chapter of this volume., in which the former predates the latter. A person becomes an apostate and then seeks the role of whistleblower, which is then rewarded for playing that role by groups that are in conflict with the original group of membership such as anti-cult organizations. These organizations further cultivate the apostate, seeking to turn him or her into a whistleblower. He also describes how in this context, apostates' accusations of "brainwashing" are designed to attract perceptions of threats against the well being of young adults on the part of their families to further establish their newfound role as whistleblowers.BOOK, Richardson, James T., Apostates, Whistleblowers, Law, and Social Control, Bromley, David G., in The politics of religious apostasy: the role of apostates in the transformation of religious movements, New York, Praeger, 1998, 185–186, 0-275-95508-7, Armand L. Mauss, defines true apostates as those exiters that have access to oppositional organizations that sponsor their careers as such, and validate the retrospective accounts of their past and their outrageous experiences in new religions—making a distinction between these and whistleblowers or defectors in this context.BOOK, Richardson, James T., Apostasy and the Management of Spoiled Identity, Bromley, David G., in The politics of religious apostasy: the role of apostates in the transformation of religious movements, Praeger, New York, 1998, 185–186, 0-275-95508-7, Donald Richter, a current member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) writes that this can explain the writings of Carolyn Jessop and Flora Jessop, former members of the FLDS church who consistently sided with authorities when children of the YFZ ranch were removed over charges of child abuse.Massimo Introvigne in his Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and ApostatesIntrovigne 1997 defines three types of narratives constructed by apostates of new religious movements:
  • Type I narratives characterize the exit process as defection, in which the organization and the former member negotiate an exiting process aimed at minimizing the damage for both parties.
  • Type II narratives involve a minimal degree of negotiation between the exiting member, the organization they intend to leave, and the environment or society at large, implying that the ordinary apostate holds no strong feelings concerning his past experience in the group. They may make "comments on the organization's more negative features or shortcomings" while also recognizing that there was "something positive in the experience."
  • Type III narratives are characterized by the ex-member dramatically reversing their loyalties and becoming a professional enemy of the organization they have left. These apostates often join an oppositional coalition fighting the organization, often claiming victimization.
Introvigne argues that apostates professing Type II narratives prevail among exiting members of controversial groups or organizations, while apostates that profess Type III narratives are a vociferous minority.Ronald Burks, a psychology assistant at the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, in a study comparing Group Psychological Abuse Scale (GPA) and Neurological Impairment Scale (NIS) scores in 132 former members of cults and cultic relationships, found a positive correlation between intensity of reform environment as measured by the GPA and cognitive impairment as measured by the NIS. Additional findings were a reduced earning potential in view of the education level that corroborates earlier studies of cult critics (Martin 1993; Singer & Ofshe, 1990; West & Martin, 1994) and significant levels of depression and dissociation agreeing with Conway & Siegelman, (1982), Lewis & Bromley, (1987) and Martin, et al. (1992).WEB,weblink Burks, Ronald, Cognitive Impairment in Thought Reform Environments, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 14, 2011, Sociologists Bromley and Hadden note a lack of empirical support for claimed consequences of having been a member of a "cult" or "sect", and substantial empirical evidence against it. These include the fact that the overwhelming proportion of people who get involved in NRMs leave, most short of two years; the overwhelming proportion of people who leave do so of their own volition; and that two-thirds (67%) felt "wiser for the experience".BOOK, Hadden, J, Bromley, D, 1993, The Handbook of Cults and Sects in America, Greenwich, CT, JAI Press, Inc, 75–97, According to F. Derks and psychologist of religion Jan van der Lans, there is no uniform post-cult trauma. While psychological and social problems upon resignation are not uncommon, their character and intensity are greatly dependent on the personal history and on the traits of the ex-member, and on the reasons for and way of resignation.F. Derks and the professor of psychology of religion Jan van der Lans The post-cult syndrome: Fact or Fiction?, paper presented at conference of Psychologists of Religion, Catholic University Nijmegen, 1981, also appeared in Dutch language as Post-cult-syndroom; feit of fictie?, published in the magazine Religieuze bewegingen in Nederland/Religious movements in the Netherlands nr. 6 pages 58–75 published by the Free university Amsterdam (1983)The report of the "Swedish Government's Commission on New Religious Movements" (1998) states that the great majority of members of new religious movements derive positive experiences from their subscription to ideas or doctrines that correspond to their personal needs—and that withdrawal from these movements is usually quite undramatic, as these people leave feeling enriched by a predominantly positive experience. Although the report describes that there are a small number of withdrawals that require support (100 out of 50,000+ people), the report did not recommend that any special resources be established for their rehabilitation, as these cases are very rare.Report of the Swedish Government's Commission on New Religious Movements (1998), 1.6 The need for support (Swedish){{dead link|date=July 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}, English translation The great majority of members of the new religious movements derive positive experience from their membership. They have subscribed to an idea or doctrine that corresponds to their personal needs. Membership is of limited duration in most cases. After two years, the majority have left the movement. This withdrawal is usually quite undramatic, and the people withdrawing feel enriched by a predominantly positive experience. The Commission does not recommend that special resources be established for the rehabilitation of withdraws. The cases are too few in number and the problem picture too manifold for this: each individual can be expected to need help from several different care providers or facilitators.


Historical persons

{{unreferenced section|date=November 2015}}

Recent times

  • In 2011, Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of 19, was convicted for apostasy and was sentenced to death, but later acquitted.NEWS, Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's potential execution rallies U.S. Christians, Adelle M., Banks,weblinkweblink dead, 2019-05-02, The Washington Post, 2011-09-28, 2011-10-05, Religious freedom advocates rallied Wednesday (Sept. 28) around an Iranian pastor who was facing execution because he had refused to recant his Christian faith in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.,
  • In 2013, Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, was found guilty of apostasy by the high court, which has a penalty of death.NEWS,weblink NYC, CNN, Wife: Saudi blogger sentenced to death for apostasy, Salma, Abdelaziz, 2013-12-25, However he was not executed, but was imprisoned and punished by 600 lashes instead.
  • In 2014, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag (a.k.a. Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah), a pregnant Sudanese woman, was convicted of apostasy for converting to Christianity from Islam. The government ruled that her father was Muslim, a female child takes the father's religion under Sudan's Islamic law.Sudanese woman convicted CNN (May 2014) By converting to Christianity, she had committed apostasy, a crime punishable by death. Mrs Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to death. She was also convicted of adultery on the grounds that her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan was void under Sudan's version of Islamic law, which says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims. The death sentence was not carried out, and she left Sudan in secret.NEWS,weblink Meriam Ibrahim, Woman Freed From Sudan, Announces Plans To Settle In New Hampshire, Service, Religion News, 2014-07-26, Huffington Post, 2017-05-17, en-US,
  • Tasleema Nasreen from Bangladesh, the author of Lajja, has been declared apostate – "an apostate appointed by imperialist forces to vilify Islam" – by several fundamentalist clerics in Dhaka.Taslima's Pilgrimage Meredith Tax, from The Nation

See also




  • BOOK, Banerji, Sures Chandra, A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra,weblink 1999, Abhinav Publications, 978-81-7017-370-0, harv,
  • {{EB1911|wstitle=Apostasy}}

Further reading

  • Bromley, David G. 1988. Falling From the Faith: The Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • Dunlop, Mark, weblink" title="">The culture of Cults, 2001
  • Introvigne, Massimo (1997), weblink" title="">Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates: A Quantitative Study of Former Members of New Acropolis in France, Nova Religio 3 (1), 83–99
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia (1906). The Kopelman Foundation.
  • Lucas, Phillip Charles, The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of MANS from New Age to Orthodoxy Indiana University press;
  • Lucas, Phillip Charles, Shifting Millennial Visions in New Religious Movements: The case of the Holy Order of MANS in The year 2000: Essays on the End edited by Charles B. Strozier, New York University Press 1997;
  • Lucas, Phillip Charles, The Eleventh Commandment Fellowship: A New Religious Movement Confronts the Ecological Crisis, Journal of Contemporary Religion 10:3, 1995:229–41;
  • Lucas, Phillip Charles, Social factors in the Failure of New Religious Movements: A Case Study Using Stark's Success Model SYZYGY: Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture 1:1, Winter 1992:39–53
  • Wright, Stuart A. 1988. "Leaving New Religious Movements: Issues, Theory and Research," pp. 143–165 in David G. Bromley (ed.), Falling From the Faith. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • Wright, Stuart A. 1991. "Reconceptualizing Cult Coercion and Withdrawal: A Comparative Analysis of Divorce and Apostasy." Social Forces 70 (1):125–145.
  • Wright, Stuart A. and Helen R. Ebaugh. 1993. "Leaving New Religions," pp. 117–138 in David G. Bromley and Jeffrey K. Hadden (eds.), Handbook of Cults and Sects in America. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Zablocki, Benjamin et al., Research on NRMs in the Post-9/11 World, in Lucas, Phillip Charles et al. (ed.), NRMs in the 21st Century: legal, political, and social challenges in global perspective, 2004, {{ISBN|0-415-96577-2}}

Testimonies, memoirs, and autobiographies
  • Babinski, Edward (editor), Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists. Prometheus Books, 2003. {{ISBN|1-59102-217-7}}; {{ISBN|978-1-59102-217-6}}
  • Dubreuil, J. P. 1994 L'Église de Scientology. Facile d'y entrer, difficile d'en sortir. Sherbrooke: private edition (ex-Church of Scientology)
  • Huguenin, T. 1995 Le 54e Paris Fixot (ex-Ordre du Temple Solaire who would be the 54th victim)
  • Kaufman, Robert, (Inside Scientology: How I Joined Scientology and Became Superhuman), 1972 and revised in 1995.
  • Lavallée, G. 1994 L'alliance de la brebis. Rescapée de la secte de Moïse, Montréal: Club Québec Loisirs (ex-Roch Thériault)
  • weblink" title="">Pignotti, Monica (1989), My nine lives in Scientology
  • Remini, Leah, (Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology). Ballantine Books, 2015. {{ISBN|978-1-2500-9693-7}}
  • weblink" title="">Wakefield, Margery (1996), Testimony
  • weblink" title="">Lawrence Woodcraft, Astra Woodcraft, Zoe Woodcraft, The Woodcraft Family, Video Interviews

Writings by others
  • Carter, Lewis, F. Lewis, Carriers of Tales: On Assessing Credibility of Apostate and Other Outsider Accounts of Religious Practices published in the book The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements edited by David G. Bromley Westport, CT, Praeger Publishers, 1998. {{ISBN|0-275-95508-7}}
  • Elwell, Walter A. (Ed.) Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 1 A–I, Baker Book House, 1988, pages 130–131, "Apostasy". {{ISBN|0-8010-3447-7}}
  • weblink" title="">Malinoski, Peter, Thoughts on Conducting Research with Former Cult Members , Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2001
  • Palmer, Susan J. Apostates and their Role in the Construction of Grievance Claims against the Northeast Kingdom/Messianic Communities
  • Wilson, S. G., Leaving the Fold: Apostates and Defectors in Antiquity. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2004. {{ISBN|0-8006-3675-9}}; {{ISBN|978-0-8006-3675-3}}
  • Wright, Stuart. "Post-Involvement Attitudes of Voluntary Defectors from Controversial New Religious Movements". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion'' 23 (1984):172–182.

External links

  • {{Wiktionary-inline|apostasy}}
  • {{Commons category inline}}
  • Laws Criminalizing Apostasy, Library of Congress (overview of the apostasy laws of 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia)
{{New Religious Movements}}

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