The word “apostasy” is a transliteration of the Greek apostasia, which originally denoted insurrection or secession. Its religious usage denotes the deliberate abandonment of one’s religion. Apostasy is closely related to heresy where the rejection of orthodox for heterodox beliefs and practices within a given religion is seen as a categorical denial of true religion. As such, apostasy must be understood as a public rather than a private occurrence. Apostasy is not a matter of private religious doubts or lapsed religious practices. Apostasy is a public renunciation and condemnation of one’s former religious beliefs and practices. The apostate often abandons one religion for another, but may renounce religion altogether.

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