Apostasy

Apostasy (/əˈpɒstəsi/; Greek: ἀποστασία apostasia, "a defection or revolt") is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion contrary to one's previous beliefs.[2] 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.[3] 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,[4] of which 13 nations, all Muslim-majority, have the death penalty for apostasy.[5]

Apostasialogo
Logo of The Campaign for Collective Apostasy in Spain, calling for defection from the Catholic Church
Apostate
Countries with anti-apostasy policy at some level[1]

Sociological definitions

The American sociologist Lewis A. Coser (following the German philosopher and sociologist Max Scheler) 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."[6][7]

The American sociologist David G. Bromley defined the apostate role as follows and distinguished it from the defector and whistleblower roles.[7]

  • 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."[8]

Human rights

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:

The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views ... Article 18.2[9] 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.[10]

History

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.[11]

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).[12] 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.

With the rise of Islam came a relative religious tolerance in the Middle Eastern regions. 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.

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 "must always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations, 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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

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[16] to assess the extent to which so called "atrocity tales" might be based on fact.[16][17][18]

Contemporary criminalization of apostasy

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.[19]

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, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Oman and Syria.[20]

The following countries have criminal statutes that forbid apostasy or blasphemy:[21]

Map of countries with death penalty for atheists
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.[22][23][24][25]
Apostate
Countries with anti-apostasy policy at some level[26]
  • Afghanistan – illegal (death penalty, though the U.S. and other coalition members have put pressure that has prevented recent executions)[27]
  • 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.[28]
  • Comoros[29]
  • Iran – not in the Penal Code.[30]
  • Jordan – possibly illegal (fine, child custody loss, marriage annulment) although officials claim otherwise, convictions are recorded for apostasy[31][32][33]
  • Kuwait – Apostasy is not illegal in Kuwait,[34][35][36] although apostasy is penalized in family courts for Muslims.[34][35] For Muslims, apostasy in family court can result in loss of child custody, inheritance rights, annulment if married to a Muslim.[34][35]
  • Malaysia – illegal in five of thirteen states (fines) if they do not get conversion permission from Sharia court.[37]
  • Maldives[29]- illegal for Muslim nationals (loss of citizenship).[38][39] Illegal to proselytise for religions other than Islam.
  • Mauritania – illegal (death penalty if still apostate after 3 days)[40]
  • Morocco – not illegal, but official Islamic council decreed apostates should be put to death.[41] Illegal to proselytise for religions other than Islam (six months to three years imprisonment)[42]
  • Oman – illegal (prison) according to Article 209 of Oman penal code, and denies child custody rights under Article 32 of Personal Status Law[41]
  • Qatar – illegal (death penalty)[41]
  • Saudi Arabia – illegal (flogging, imprisonment and death penalty, although there have been no recently reported executions)[33][43]
  • Somalia – illegal (death penalty)[44][23]
  • Sudan – illegal (death penalty)[45]
  • Syria[29]
  • United Arab Emirates – illegal (3 years' imprisonment, death penalty)[41][46]
  • Yemen – illegal (death penalty)[41][23]

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 in 1985; two in Iran, in 1989 and 1998; and one in Saudi Arabia in 1992.

Religious views

Baha'i

Both marginal and apostate Baha'is have existed in the Baha'i community[47] who are known as nāqeżīn.[48]

Muslims often regard adherents of the Bahá'í faith as apostates from Islam,[49] and there have been cases in some Muslim countries where Baha'is have been harassed and persecuted.[50]

Christianity

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').[51] "Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion."[52] 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."[53] The Ancient Greek noun ἀποστασία apostasia ("rebellion, abandonment, state of apostasy, defection")[54] is found only twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).[55] However, "the concept of apostasy is found throughout Scripture."[56] 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."[57] These images are: Rebellion; Turning Away; Falling Away; Adultery.[58]

  • 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)."[58]
  • 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."[58]
  • 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."[59]
  • Adultery: One of the most common images for apostasy in the Old Testament is adultery.[58] "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)."[58]

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.[60] 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.[61]

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.[62]

Penalties

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.[63] 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.[64]

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.[65]

Temporal penalties for Christian apostates have fallen into disuse in the modern era.[65]

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witness publications define apostasy as the abandonment of the worship and service of God, constituting rebellion against God.[66] 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.[67] 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.[68] Baptized individuals who leave the organization because they disagree with the religion's teachings are also regarded as apostates and are shunned.[69]

Watch Tower Society literature describes apostates as "mentally diseased" individuals who can "infect others with their disloyal teachings".[70][71] 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.[72]

Mormonism

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

Hinduism does not have a "unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith or a creed"[73],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.[74] Some Hindu sects believe that ethical conversion, without force or reward is completely acceptable[75].

The Vashistha Dharmasastra, the Apastamba Dharmasutra and Yajnavalkya state that a son of an apostate is also considered an apostate.[76] Smr̥ticandrikā lists apostates as one group of people upon touching whom, one should take a bath.[77] Kātyāyana condemns a Brahmin who has apostatised to banishment while a Vaishya or a Shudra to serve the king.[78] Nāradasmṛti and Parasara-samhita states that a wife can remarry if her husband becomes an apostate.[79] The saint Parashara commented that religious rites are disturbed if an apostate witnesses them.[80] He also comments that that those who foregoes the Rig Veda, Samaveda and Yajurveda are "nagna" (naked) or an apostate.[81]

Buddhism

There is no concept of heresy or apostasy in Buddhism, and people are free to leave Buddhism and renounce their beliefs in Buddhism without any consequence.[82]

Islam

Rechtsgutachten betr Apostasie im Islam
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.[83] 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 puberty.

In Islamic literature, apostasy is called irtidād or ridda; an apostate is called murtadd, which literally means 'one who turns back' from Islam.[84] 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.[85][86][87] 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.[88][89][90]

There are multiple verses in the Quran that condemn apostasy,[91] but none which prescribe any punishments for apostasy and multiple Hadiths include statements that support the death penalty for apostasy.[92] The majority of modern Ulama have come to the conclusion that despite the Quran suggesting that an apostate cannot be punished for apostasy,[93] that the select Hadith which do support the death for apostasy override the Quranic verses which suggest otherwise.

The concept and punishment of Apostasy has been extensively covered in Islamic literature since the 7th century.[94] A person is considered apostate if he or she converts from Islam to another religion.[95] 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, makeing 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.[96][97][98]

Many Muslims consider the Islamic law on apostasy and the punishment for it to be one of the immutable laws under Islam.[99] It is a hudud crime,[100][101] which means it is a crime against God,[102] and the punishment has been fixed by God. The punishment for apostasy includes[103] 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.[94][104][105]

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.[106][107]

According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, there is no punishment for apostasy, neither in the Quran nor as it was taught by Muhammad.[108] 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.[108]:18–25 Ulama of major sects of Islam consider the Ahmadi Muslim sect as kafirs (infidels)[108]:8 and apostates.[109][110]

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.[21] 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.[111] In numerous Islamic majority countries, many individuals have been arrested and punished for the crime of apostasy without any associated capital crimes.[29][112][113][114] 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).[115][116] 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.[117]

Muslim historians recognize 632 AD as the year when the first regional apostasy from Islam emerged, immediately after the death of Muhammed.[118] The civil wars that followed are now called the Riddah wars (Wars of Islamic Apostasy).

Judaism

141.Mattathias and the Apostate
Mattathias killing a Jewish apostate

The 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:

If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.[119]

In 1 Kings King Solomon is warned in a dream which "darkly portray[s] the ruin that would be caused by departure from God":[120]

If you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.[121]

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,[122] 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,[123][124] 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.[125]

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.[126]

Sociologist 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".[127]

One camp that broadly speaking questions apostate narratives includes David G. Bromley,[128] Daniel Carson Johnson,[129] Dr. Lonnie D. Kliever (1932–2004),[130] Gordon Melton,[131] and Bryan R. Wilson.[132] An opposing camp less critical of apostate narratives as a group includes Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi,[133] Dr. Phillip Charles Lucas,[134][135][136] Jean Duhaime,[137] Mark Dunlop,[138][139] Michael Langone,[140] and Benjamin Zablocki.[141]

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,[142] 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.[143] 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.[144] 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 Apostates[145] 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).[146]

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".[147]

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.[148]

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.[149]

Examples

Historical persons

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.[150]
  • In 2013, Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, was found guilty of apostasy by the high court, which has a penalty of death.[151] 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.[152] 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.[45] The death sentence was not carried out, and she left Sudan in secret.[153]
  • 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.[154]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy? Pew Research Center, United States (May 2014)
  2. ^ "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". quod.lib.umich.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  3. ^ Muslim apostates cast out and at risk from faith and family, The Times, February 05, 2005
  4. ^ Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?, Pew Research Center, 29 July 2016.
  5. ^ "The countries where apostasy is punishable by death". indy100.com. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  6. ^ Lewis A. Coser The Age of the Informer Dissent:1249–54, 1954
  7. ^ a b Bromley, David G., ed. (1998). The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements. CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-95508-7.
  8. ^ Wright, Stuart, A. (1998). "Exploring Factors that Shape the Apostate Role". In Bromley, David G. (ed.). The Politics of Religious Apostasy. Praeger Publishers. p. 109. ISBN 0-275-95508-7.
  9. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Article 18.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  10. ^ "University of Minnesota Human Rights Library | CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22., 1993". umn.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  11. ^ Urubshurow, Victoria. Introducing World Religions. p. 78.
  12. ^ Oropeza, B. J. (2000). Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation. p. 10. ISBN 978-3161473074.
  13. ^ Wilson, Bryan R. Apostates and New Religious Movements (1994) (Available online) Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ 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
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    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.
  150. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (2011-09-28). "Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's potential execution rallies U.S. Christians". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved 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.
  151. ^ Abdelaziz, Salma (2013-12-25). "Wife: Saudi blogger sentenced to death for apostasy". CNN. NYC.
  152. ^ Sudanese woman convicted CNN (May 2014)
  153. ^ Service, Religion News (2014-07-26). "Meriam Ibrahim, Woman Freed From Sudan, Announces Plans To Settle In New Hampshire". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  154. ^ Taslima's Pilgrimage Meredith Tax, from The Nation

References

Further reading

  • Bromley, David G. 1988. Falling From the Faith: The Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • Dunlop, Mark, The culture of Cults, 2001
  • Introvigne, Massimo (1997), 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
Writings by others

External links

  • The dictionary definition of apostasy at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Apostasy at Wikimedia Commons
  • Laws Criminalizing Apostasy, Library of Congress (overview of the apostasy laws of 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia)
Apostasia of 1965

The terms Apostasia (Greek: Αποστασία, "Apostasy") or Iouliana (Greek: Ιουλιανά, "July events") or the Royal Coup (Greek: Το Βασιλικό Πραξικόπημα To Vasiliko Praxikopima) are used to describe the political crisis in Greece that centred on the resignation, on 15 July 1965, of Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and the appointment, by King Constantine II, of successive prime ministers from Papandreou's own party, the Center Union, to replace him. Those defectors from the Center Union were branded, by Papandreou's sympathisers, as the Apostates ("renegades"). The Apostasia heralded a prolonged period of political instability, which weakened the fragile post-Civil War order and ultimately led to the establishment of a military regime in 1967.

Apostasy in Christianity

Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia ("ἀποστασία") meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion. It has been described as "a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christianity. Apostasy is the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian...." "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." "Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion."According to B. J. Oropeza, the warning passages in the New Testament describe at least three dangers which could lead a Christian to commit apostasy:

Temptations: Christians were tempted to engage in various vices that were a part of their lives before they became Christians (idolatry, sexual immorality, covetousness, etc.).

Deceptions: Christians encountered various heresies and false teachings spread by false teachers and prophets that threatened to seduce them away from their pure devotion to Christ.

Persecutions: Christians were persecuted by the governing powers of the day for their allegiance to Christ. Many Christians were threatened with certain death if they would not deny Christ.

Persecution is highlighted in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the First Epistle of Peter. The issue of false teachers/teachings is found in the Johannine and Pauline epistles, in the Second Epistle of Peter and the Epistle of Jude. A number of sections in the writings of Paul and James focus on vices and virtues. "These and other early texts helped to shape the trajectory of Christian response to the phenomenon of defection in the post-apostolic era. The Christians were to persevere through various types of opposition, standing firm against temptation, false doctrine, hardships and persecution."

Apostasy in Islam

Apostasy in Islam (Arabic: ردة‎ riddah or ارتداد irtidād) is commonly defined as the conscious abandonment of Islam by a Muslim in word or through deed. It includes the act of converting to another religion or non-acceptance of faith to be irreligious, by a person who was born in a Muslim family or who had previously accepted Islam. The definition of apostasy from Islam, and whether and how it should be punished, are matters of controversy and Islamic scholars differ in their opinions on these questions.According to the classical legal doctrine, apostasy in Islam includes not only an explicit renunciation of the Islamic faith (whether for another religion or irreligiosity), but also any deed or utterance implying unbelief, such as one denying a "fundamental tenet or creed" of Islam. Islamic jurists did not formulate general rules for establishing unbelief, instead compiling sometimes lengthy lists of statements and actions which in their view implied apostasy. Apostasy does not include individuals who were forced to embrace Islam under conditions of duress, or acts against Islam or conversion to another religion that is involuntary, forced or done as concealment out of fear of persecution or during war (Taqiyya or Kitman).Until the late 19th century, the vast majority of Sunni and Shia jurists held that for adult men, apostasy from Islam was a crime as well as a sin, an act of treason punishable with the death penalty, typically after a waiting period to allow the apostate time to repent and to return to Islam. The kind of apostasy which the jurists generally deemed punishable was of the political kind, although there were considerable legal differences of opinion on this matter. Wael Hallaq states that "[in] a culture whose lynchpin is religion, religious principles and religious morality, apostasy is in some way equivalent to high treason in the modern nation-state". Early Islamic jurists developed legal institutions to circumvent this harsh punishment, and the standard for apostasy from Islam was set so high that practically no apostasy verdict could be passed before the 11th century. However, later jurists lowered the bar for applying the death penalty, allowing judges to interpret the apostasy law in different ways, which they did sometimes leniently and sometimes strictly. In the late 19th century, the use of criminal penalties for apostasy fell into disuse, although civil penalties were still applied.According to Abdul Rashied Omar, the majority of modern Islamic jurists continue to regard apostasy as a crime deserving the death penalty. Some regard apostasy in Islam as a form of religious crime, although others do not. Others argue that the death penalty is an inappropriate punishment, inconsistent with the Qur'anic injunctions such as Quran 88:21–22 or "no compulsion in religion"; and/or that it was a man-made rule enacted in the early Islamic community to prevent and punish the equivalent of desertion or treason, and should be enforced only if apostasy becomes a mechanism of public disobedience and disorder (fitna). According to Khaled Abou El Fadl, moderate Muslims do not believe that apostasy requires punishment. Critics argue that the death penalty or other punishment for apostasy in Islam is a violation of universal human rights, and an issue of freedom of faith and conscience.As of 2014, laws in various Muslim-majority countries prescribed for the apostate (Arabic: مرتد‎ murtadd) sentences ranging from execution to a prison term to no punishment. Sharia courts in some countries use civil code to void the Muslim apostate's marriage and to deny child-custody rights as well as inheritance rights. From 1985 to 2006, three governments executed four individuals for apostasy from Islam: "one in Sudan in 1985; two in Iran, in 1989 and 1998; and one in Saudi Arabia in 1992." Twenty-three Muslim-majority countries, as of 2013, additionally covered apostasy from Islam through their criminal laws. The Tunisian Constitution of 2014 stipulates protection from attacks based on accusations of apostasy. In a Pew Research Center poll, public support for capital punishment for apostasy among Muslims ranged from 78% in Afghanistan to less than 1% in Kazakhstan.

Apostasy in Judaism

In Judaism, apostasy refers to the rejection of Judaism and possible defection to another religion by a Jew. The term apostasy is derived from Ancient Greek: ἀποστάτης, meaning "rebellious" (Hebrew: מרד.) Equivalent expressions for apostate in Hebrew that are used by rabbinical scholars include mumar (מומר, literally "the one that was changed"), poshea Yisrael (פושע ישראל, literally, "transgressor of Israel"), and kofer (כופר, literally "denier"). Similar terms are meshumad (משומד, lit. "destroyed one"), one who has abandoned his faith, and min (מין) or epikoros (אפיקורוס), which denote the negation of God and Judaism, implying atheism.

At the Arena ov Aion – Live Apostasy

At the Arena ov Aion – Live Apostasy is the first live album by the Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. It was released on 31 October 2008 through Regain Records. The album was recorded live at La Loco in Paris, France on 17 February 2008 during the European Apostasy tour. The record was then mixed and edited in the Antfarm Studio, Denmark in June 2008. Additional editing took place in the Soundsgreat Studio in Poland during April and May 2008. The record was then mastered in the Cutting Room Studios, Stockholm in July 2008.The live album was also released as a digibook including 17 tracks. A limited metalbox edition (including a patch, a guitar pick and 2 bonus songs) was announced but never came to fruition due to Regain Records financial problems.

Behemoth (band)

Behemoth is a Polish blackened death metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground.Until the late 1990s, the band played a traditional black metal style with heathen lyrical content, but soon changed to that of occult and thelemic themes written by their lead vocalist Nergal and Krzysztof Azarewicz. With the 1999 release of Satanica, the band demonstrated their presence in the death metal scene, while retaining their own signature style characterized by the drum work of Inferno, multi-layered vocals and Middle-Eastern influences. Despite Behemoth having been labeled as death metal or thrash metal-influenced, Nergal has mentioned that he does not like the band to be labeled.

Conditional preservation of the saints

The conditional preservation of the saints, or commonly conditional security, is the Arminian belief that believers are kept safe by God in their saving relationship with Him upon the condition of a persevering faith in Christ. Arminians find the Scriptures describing both the initial act of faith in Christ, "whereby the relationship is effected, and the persevering faith in Him whereby the relationship is sustained." The relationship of "the believer to Christ is never a static relationship existing as the irrevocable consequence of a past decision, act, or experience." Rather, it is a living union "proceeding upon a living faith in a living Savior." This living union is captured in this simple command by Christ, "Remain in me, and I in you" (John 15:4).According to Arminians, biblical saving faith expresses itself in love and obedience to God (Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 5:8–9). In the Arminian Confession of 1621, the Remonstrants (or Arminian leaders) affirmed that true or living faith operates through love, and that God chooses to give salvation and eternal life through His Son, "and to finally glorify all those and only those truly believing in his name, or obeying his gospel, and persevering in faith and obedience until death ... "Arminians believe that "It is abundantly evident from the Scriptures that the believer is secure." Furthermore, believers have assurance in knowing there is no external power or circumstance that can separate them from the love of God they enjoy in union with Christ (Romans 8:35–39; John 10:27–29). Nevertheless, Arminians see numerous warnings in Scripture directed to genuine believers about the possibility of falling away in unbelief and thereby becoming severed from their saving union with God through Christ. Arminians hold that if a believer becomes an unbeliever (commits apostasy), they necessarily cease to partake of the promises of salvation and eternal life made to believers who continue in faith and remain united to Christ.Therefore, Arminians seek to follow the biblical writers in warning believers about the real dangers of committing apostasy. A sure and biblical way to avoid apostasy is to admonish believers to mature spiritually in their relationship with God in union with Christ and through power of the Spirit. Maturity takes place as Christ-followers keep on meeting with fellow believers for mutual encouragement and strength; exhorting each to love God and others; to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and to persevere in faith in prayerful dependence upon God through various trials and temptations.

Dabiq (magazine)

Dabiq (Arabic: دابق‎) was an online magazine used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for Islamic radicalisation and recruitment. It was first published in July 2014 in a number of different languages (including English). Dabiq itself states the magazine is for the purposes of unitarianism, truth-seeking, migration, holy war and community (tawhid, manhaj, hijrah, jihad and jama'ah respectively).

Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic absolute monarchy in which Sunni Islam is the official state religion based on firm Sharia law. No law requires all citizens to be Muslim, but non-Muslims and many foreign and Saudi Muslims whose beliefs are deemed not to conform with the government’s interpretation of Islam must practice their religion in private and are vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, detention, and, for noncitizens, deportation. Children born to Muslim fathers are by law deemed Muslim, and conversion from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy and punishable by death. Blasphemy against Sunni Islam is also punishable by death, but the more common penalty is a long prison sentence. According to the U.S. Department of State's 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom, there have been 'no confirmed reports of executions for either apostasy or blasphemy' between 1913 and 2013.A Saudi court sentenced a Palestinian man, Ashraf Fayadh to death for apostasy on November 17, 2015, for alleged blasphemous statements during a discussion group and in a book of his poetry.Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law.

The Saudi Mutaween (Arabic: مطوعين‎), or Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police) enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions, though its powers were significantly curtailed in April 2016. Sharia applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia, regardless of religion.

Freedom of religion in the United Arab Emirates

The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs, and the government generally respects this right in practice; however, there are some restrictions (e.g. attempts to spread Christianity among Muslims are not permitted). The federal Constitution declares that Islam is the official religion of the country; the Government does not recognize or permit conversion from Islam to another religion.

Great Apostasy

The Great Apostasy is a concept within Christianity, identifiable at least from the time of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation, to describe a perception that the early apostolic Church has fallen away from the original faith founded by Jesus and promulgated through his twelve Apostles. Protestants used the term to describe the perceived fallen state of traditional Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, because they claim it changed the doctrines of the early church and allowed traditional Greco-Roman culture (i.e.Greco-Roman mysteries, deities of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, pagan festivals and Mithraic sun worship and idol worship) into the church on its own perception of authority. Because it made these changes using claims of tradition and not from scripture, the Church -- in the opinion of those adhering to this concept -- has fallen into apostasy. A major thread of this perception is the suggestion that, to attract and convert people to Christianity, the church in Rome incorporated pagan beliefs and practices within the Christian religion, mostly Graeco-Roman rituals, mysteries, and festivals. For example, Easter has been described as a pagan substitute for the Jewish Passover, although neither Jesus nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival.The term is derived from the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, in which the Apostle Paul informs the Christians of Thessalonica that a great apostasy must occur before the return of Christ, when "the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction" (chapter 2:1-12). The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches have interpreted this chapter as referring to a future falling-away, during the reign of the Antichrist at the end of times.

Islam and violence

Mainstream Islamic law stipulates detailed regulations for the use of violence, including the use of violence within the family or household, the use of corporal and capital punishment, as well as how, when and against whom to wage war.

Islam in the United Arab Emirates

Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates. More than 80% of the population of the United Arab Emirates are non-citizens. Virtually all Emirati citizens are Muslims; approximately 85% are Sunni and 15% are Shi'a. There are smaller number of Ismaili Shias and Ahmadi. Foreigners are predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, although there are substantial numbers from the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States, and North America. The Al Nahayan and Al Maktoum ruling families adhere to the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence from the Uyunid dynasty, whom spread of the Maliki school came by the command of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Uyuni.The UAE's judicial system is derived from the civil law system and Sharia law. The court system consists of civil courts and Sharia courts. According to Human Rights Watch, UAE's criminal and civil courts apply elements of Sharia law, codified into its criminal code and family law.

Sharia courts in the UAE have a significant amount of authority. Flogging is a punishment for criminal offences such as adultery, premarital sex and alcohol consumption. Due to Sharia courts, flogging is legal with sentences ranging from 80 to 200 lashes. Between 2007 and 2013, many people in the UAE were sentenced to 100 lashes. In Abu Dhabi, people have been sentenced to 80 lashes for kissing in public. Several Muslims in Abu Dhabi and Ajman were sentenced to 80 lashes for alcohol consumption. An Estonian soldier in 2006 was sentenced to 40 lashes for being drunk. Several people have been sentenced to 60 lashes for illicit sex. Sharia courts have penalized domestic workers with floggings. Under UAE law, premarital sex is punishable by 100 lashes.

Stoning is a legal punishment in the UAE. In 2006, an expatriate was sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery. Between 2009 and 2013, several people were sentenced to death by stoning. In May 2014, an Asian housemaid was sentenced to death by stoning in Abu Dhabi.Sharia law dictates the personal status law, which regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody. The Sharia-based personal status law is applied to Muslims and sometimes non-Muslims. Non-Muslim expatriates can be liable to Sharia rulings on marriage, divorce and child custody. Sharia courts have exclusive jurisdiction over family law cases and also have jurisdiction over some criminal cases including adultery, premarital sex, robbery and related crimes.

Apostasy is a crime punishable by death in the UAE. UAE incorporates hudud crimes of Sharia into its Penal Code – apostasy being one of them. Article 1 and Article 66 of UAE's Penal Code requires hudud crimes to be punished with the death penalty, therefore apostasy is punishable by death in the UAE.

Kissing in public is illegal and can result in deportation. Expats in Dubai have been deported for kissing in public. In Abu Dhabi, people have been sentenced to 80 lashes for kissing in public.Homosexuality is illegal: homosexuality is a capital offense in the UAE. In 2013, an Emirati man was on trial for being accused of a "gay handshake". Article 80 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, while article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy.Amputation is a legal punishment in the UAE due to the Sharia courts. Crucifixion is a legal punishment in the UAE. Article 1 of the Federal Penal Code states that "provisions of the Islamic Law shall apply to the crimes of doctrinal punishment, punitive punishment and blood money." The Federal Penal Code repealed only those provisions within the penal codes of individual emirates which are contradictory to the Federal Penal Code. Hence, both are enforceable simultaneously.During the month of Ramadan, it is illegal to publicly eat, drink, or smoke between sunrise and sunset. Exceptions are made for pregnant women and children. The law applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims, and failure to comply may result in arrest. Dancing in public is illegal in the UAE.

Lapsi (Christianity)

Lapsi were apostates in the early Christian Church, who renounced their faith under persecution by Roman authorities. The term as refers to those who have lapsed or fallen away from their faith to return later in life.

Religious disaffiliation

Religious disaffiliation is the act of leaving a faith, or a religious group or community. It is in many respects the reverse of religious conversion. Several other terms are used for this process, though each of these terms may have slightly different meanings and connotations.Researchers employ a variety of terms to describe disaffiliation, including defection, apostasy and disengagement. This is in contrast to excommunication, which is disaffiliation from a religious organization imposed punitively on a member, rather than willfully undertaken by the member.

If religious affiliation was a big part of a leaver's social life and identity, then leaving can be a wrenching experience, and some religious groups aggravate the process with hostile reactions and shunning. Some people who were not particularly religious see leaving as not ‘all that big a deal’ and entailing ‘few personal consequences’, especially if they are younger people in secularized countries.

Restoration (Latter Day Saints)

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the restoration refers to a return to the earth of the authentic priesthood power, spiritual gifts, ordinances, living prophets and revelation of the primitive Church of Christ after a long period of apostasy. While in some contexts the term may also refer to the early history of the Latter-day Saint religion, in other contexts the term is used in a way to include the time that has elapsed from the church's earliest beginnings until the present day. Especially in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) "the restoration" is often used also as a term to encompass the corpus of religious messages from its general leaders down to the present.The restoration is associated with a number of events that occurred which are understood to have been necessary to re-establish the early Christian church found in the New Testament, and to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus. In particular, Latter Day Saints believe that angels appeared to Joseph Smith and others and bestowed various priesthood authorities on them.

Ridda wars

The Ridda Wars (Arabic: حروب الردة‎), also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr against rebel Arabian tribes during 632 and 633, just after Muhammad died. The rebels' position was that they had submitted to Muhammad as the prophet of God, but owed nothing to Abu Bakr. Some rebels followed either Tulayha or Musaylima or Sajjah, all of whom claimed prophethood. Most of the tribes were defeated and reintegrated into the Caliphate. The peoples surrounding Mecca did not revolt.

A detailed reconstruction of the events is complicated by the frequently contradictory and tendentious accounts found in primary sources.

Sharia

Sharia (, Arabic: شريعة‎ [ʃaˈriːʕa]), Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah (authentic hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning), and ijma (juridical consensus). Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad. Traditional jurisprudence (fiqh) distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics. Its rulings are concerned with ethical standards as much as with legal norms, assigning actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited. Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.Classical jurisprudence was elaborated by private religious scholars, largely through legal opinions (fatwas) issued by qualified jurists (muftis). It was historically applied in sharia courts by ruler-appointed judges, who dealt mainly with civil disputes and community affairs. Sultanic courts, the police and market inspectors administered criminal justice, which was influenced by sharia but not bound by its rules. Non-Muslim (dhimmi) communities had legal autonomy to adjudicate their internal affairs. Over the centuries, Sunni muftis were gradually incorporated into state bureaucracies, and fiqh was complemented by various economic, criminal and administrative laws issued by Muslim rulers. The Ottoman civil code of 1869–1876 was the first partial attempt to codify sharia.In the modern era, traditional laws in the Muslim world have been widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models. Judicial procedures and legal education were likewise brought in line with European practice. While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were largely retained only in personal status (family) laws. Legislators who codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence. The Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning. In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers. Some Muslim-minority countries recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations. Sharia also continues to influence other aspects of private and public life.

The role of sharia has become a contested topic around the world. Introduction of sharia-based laws sparked intercommunal violence in Nigeria and may have contributed to the breakup of Sudan. Some jurisdictions in North America have passed bans on use of sharia, framed as restrictions on religious or foreign laws. There are ongoing debates as to whether sharia is compatible with democracy, human rights, freedom of thought, women's rights, LGBT rights, and banking.

The Apostasy

The Apostasy is the eighth full-length album by Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. The album was released on 17 July 2007 through Regain Records.

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