Apostasy

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Apostasy (pronounced /əˈpɒstəsi/; from Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia), a defection or revolt, from ἀπό, apo, "away, apart", στάσις, stasis, "stand", "standing") is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy apostatizes and is an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday use. The term is used by sociologists to mean renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, a person's former religion, in a technical sense and without pejorative connotation. The term is sometimes also used by extension to refer to renunciation of a non-religious belief or cause, such as a political party, brain trust, or, facetiously, a sports team.

Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: very few former believers call themselves apostates because of the pejorative implications of the term. 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[citation needed].

Many religious groups and some states punish apostates. Apostates may be shunned by the members of their former religious group[1] or subjected to formal or informal punishment. This may be the official policy of the religious group or may be the action of its members. A Christian church may in certain circumstances excommunicate the apostate, while some Abrahamic scriptures (Judaism: Deuteronomy 13:6–10) and Islam: al-Bukhari, Diyat, bab 6)[citation needed] demand the death penalty for apostates. The death penalty is still applied by some Muslim states (such as Iran[2]), but not in Christianity or Judaism.[citation needed]

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