Apostasy
Overview
Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation
Religious disaffiliation
Religious disaffiliation means leaving a faith, or a religious group or community. It is in many respects the reverse of religious conversion...

 from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 by a person. One who commits apostasy (or who apostatises) is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 implication in everyday use. The term apostasy is used by sociologists
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 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
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

, brain trust
Brain Trust
Brain trust began as a term for a group of close advisors to a political candidate or incumbent, prized for their expertise in particular fields. The term is most associated with the group of advisors to Franklin Roosevelt during his presidential administration...

, 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 groups and some states punish apostates.
Quotations

Still in the garden shadows art Thou pleading,Staining the night dews with Thine agony;But one is there Thy woe and prayer unheeding,And to their guileless preyThy murderers leading, Lord, is it I?

George Huntingdon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 14.

"The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates. Not uncommonly the apostate learns to rehearse an 'atrocity story' to explain how, by manipulation, trickery, coercion, or deceit, he was induced to join or to remain within an organization that he now forswears and condemns."

Bryan Wilson, The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism

Encyclopedia
Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation
Religious disaffiliation
Religious disaffiliation means leaving a faith, or a religious group or community. It is in many respects the reverse of religious conversion...

 from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 by a person. One who commits apostasy (or who apostatises) is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 implication in everyday use. The term apostasy is used by sociologists
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 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
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

, brain trust
Brain Trust
Brain trust began as a term for a group of close advisors to a political candidate or incumbent, prized for their expertise in particular fields. The term is most associated with the group of advisors to Franklin Roosevelt during his presidential administration...

, 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 groups and some states punish apostates. Apostates may be shunned
Shunning
Shunning can be the act of social rejection, or mental rejection. Social rejection is when a person or group deliberately avoids association with, and habitually keeps away from an individual or group. This can be a formal decision by a group, or a less formal group action which will spread to all...

 by the members of their former religious group 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. Certain types of churches may in certain circumstances excommunicate
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 the apostate, while some Islamic scriptures demand the death penalty
Religion and capital punishment
Most major world religions take an ambiguous position on the morality of capital punishment. Religions are often based on a body of teachings and the standards of present-day Western civilization, and the Old Testament, as well as the Qur'an, contains many cases of criminals being executed...

 for apostates.

Sociological definitions

The American sociologist Lewis A. Coser
Lewis A. Coser
Lewis Coser was an American sociologist. The 66th president of the American Sociological Association in 1975....

 (following the German philosopher and sociologist Max Scheler
Max Scheler
Max Scheler was a German philosopher known for his work in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology...

) defines an apostate to be 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."

The American sociologist David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

 defined the apostate role as follows and distinguished it from the defector
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 and whistleblower
Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

 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 is one which 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.
  • Whistleblower role: defined here as one in which an organization member forms an alliance with an external regulatory unit through offering personal testimony concerning specific, contested organizational practices that is then used to sanction the organization. The narrative constructed jointly by the whistleblower and regulatory agency is one which depicts the whistleblower as motivated by personal conscience and the organization by defense of public interest.


Stuart A. Wright
Stuart A. Wright
Stuart A. Wright is Professor of Sociology and Director of Research in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Lamar University with primary research interests in religious and political movements, sectarian conflict, violence and terrorism...

, 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 claimsmaking activities to attack his or her former group."

International law

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

, considers the recanting of a person's religion a human right
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 legally protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

:

Countries

In many countries apostasy from the religion supported by the state is explicitly forbidden. This is largely the case in some states where Islam
Apostasy in Islam
Apostasy in Islam is commonly defined in Islam as the rejection in word or deed of one's former religion by a person who was previously a follower of Islam...

 is the state religion; conversion to Islam is encouraged, conversion from Islam penalised.
  • Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     – illegal (death penalty since 2007)
  • United Arab Emirates
    United Arab Emirates
    The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

     – illegal (death penalty, although the U.S. and other coalition members have put pressure that has prevented recent executions)
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

     – illegal (death penalty, although there have been no recently reported executions)
  • Sudan
    Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

     – illegal (death penalty, although there have only been recent reports of torture, and not of execution)
  • Qatar
    Qatar
    Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Yemen
    Yemen
    The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Malaysia – illegal in five of 13 states (fine, imprisonment, and flogging)
  • Mauritania
    Mauritania
    Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

     – illegal (death penalty)
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

     – illegal in twelve of 37 states (death penalty)
  • Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

     – possibly illegal (death penalty) although there is evidence to the contrary


But there are countries where it is different:
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     – legal (protected under Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section of the Constitution of Canada's Charter of Rights that lists what the Charter calls "fundamental freedoms" theoretically applying to everyone in Canada, regardless of whether they are a Canadian citizen, or an individual or...

    )
  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     – legal (protected under Article Six of the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    Kingdom of the Netherlands
    The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

    )
  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     – legal (per the First Amendment to the United States Constitution
    First Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

    )
  • India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     – legal. The Constitution of India allows freedom of religion. In some provinces, including Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, there are laws forbidding forced conversions and in response to the methods used by some sects and religions for mass conversion, and the social tensions caused by conversion under these circumstances.
  • Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     – legal (protected under Article III, Section 5 of the Philippine Constitution)
  • Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     – legal (protected under Article 5, Section VI of the Brazilian Constitution)
  • Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     – legal (protected by the Constitution (UUD 1945, KUHP, Garuda Pancasila)

Baha'i

Muslims often regard adherents of the Bahá'í faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 as apostates from Islam, and there have been cases in some Muslim countries where Baha'is have been harassed and persecuted
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

.

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...." "Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion." The Greek noun apostasia (rebellion, abandonment, state of apostasy, defection) is found only twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). However, "the concept of apostasy is found throughout Scripture." 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." These images are: Rebellion; Turning Away; Falling Away; Adultery.
  • Rebellion: "In classical literature apostasia was used to denote a coup or defection. By extension the LXX 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
    Covenant (biblical)
    A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

     relationship with God though 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."

  • 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 purse 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 graphically name 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 regards to apostasy in Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Michael Fink writes:


Apostasy is certainly a biblical concept, but the implications of the teaching have been hotly debated. 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 will 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.

Islam

In Islam apostasy is called "ridda" ("turning back") and is considered to be a profound insult to God. A person born of Muslim parents who rejects Islam is called a "murtad fitri" (natural apostate), and a person who converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a "murtad milli" (apostate from the community).

In Islam an apostate will not be exempt from punishment.
Quran specifically describes three types of punishment for apostates via these verses;

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:33]."

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 women life imprisonment. However, this view has been rejected by modern Muslim scholars (e.g. Hasan al-Turabi), who argue that the hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

in question should be taken to apply only to political betrayal of the Muslim community, rather than to apostasy in general. These scholars regard apostasy as a serious crime, but argue for the freedom to convert to and from Islam without legal penalty, and consider the aforementioned Hadith quote as insufficient justification for capital punishment. Today apostasy is illegal in most Muslim countries, and subject in some to the death penalty. Executions for apostasy are rare, but allowed in many Muslim countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Apostasy is legal in secular Muslim countries such as Turkey.

The hadith is quoted both by supporters of the death penalty and critics of Islam. Some Islamic scholars point out it is important to understand the hadith in its proper historical context: it was written when the nascent Muslim community in Medina was fighting for its existence, and the enemies of Islam encouraged rebellion and discord within the community. At that time any defection would have had serious consequences for the Muslims, and the hadith may well be about treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

, rather than just apostasy. Under the terms of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah is the treaty that took place between the state of Medina and the Quraishi tribe of Mecca in March 628CE .-Background:...

 any Muslim who returned to Mecca was not to be returned, terms which the Prophet accepted. Despite this historical point, Islamic law as currently practiced does not allow freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

.

The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 says:
The Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 (a collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 and his companions
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

) includes statements taken as supporting the death penalty for apostasy, such as:
  • The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I (Muhammad) am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas
    Qisas
    Qisas is an Islamic term meaning "retaliation," and follows the principle of an eye for an eye, or lex talionis, first set forth by Hammurabi, and subsequently included in the Old Testament and later legal codes...

     for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.


Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i Islamic scholar, writes that punishment for apostasy was part of Divine punishment for only those who denied the truth even after clarification in its ultimate form by Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 (he uses term Itmam al-hujjah), hence, he considers this command for a particular time and no longer punishable.

In 2006 Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman (convert)
Abdul Rahman was an Afghan citizen who was arrested in February 2006 and threatened with the death penalty for converting to Christianity. On March 26, 2006, under heavy pressure from foreign governments, the court returned his case to prosecutors, citing "investigative gaps". He was released...

, an Afghan convert from Islam to Christianity, attracted worldwide attention about where Islam stood on religious freedom. Prosecutors asked for the death penalty for him. However, under heavy pressure from foreign governments, the Afghan government claimed he was mentally unfit to stand trial and released him.

Islam Online, a website, contains a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 dated 21 March 2004 and ascribed to 'IOL Shariah Researchers' says:
  • "If a sane person who has reached puberty voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be punished.‏ In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph
    Caliph
    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

     (or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed." No one besides the caliph or his representative may kill the apostate. If someone else kills him, the killer is disciplined (for arrogating the caliph's prerogative and encroaching upon his rights, as this is one of his duties).


It should be noted that the website Islam Online has an article by Jamal Badawi
Jamal Badawi
Jamal A. Badawi is an Egyptian born Muslim Canadian former professor in the Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a well-known author, preacher and speaker on Islam....

 arguing against legal punishment of apostasy:
  • "The preponderance of evidence from both the Qur'an and Sunnah indicates that there is no firm ground for the claim that apostasy is in itself a mandatory fixed punishment (hadd), namely capital punishment." References to early capital punishment for apostasy were not due to apostasy itself, but rather other capital crimes that were coupled with it.

Judaism

The term apostasy is also derived from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ἀποστάτης, meaning "political rebel," as applied to rebellion against God, its law and the faith of Israel (in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 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
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 states:
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
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, Elisha Ben Abuyah
Elisha ben Abuyah
Elisha ben Abuyah was a rabbi and Jewish religious authority born in Jerusalem sometime before 70 CE. After he adopted a worldview considered heretical by his fellow Tannaim and betrayed his people, the rabbis of the Talmud refrained from relating teachings in his name and referred to him as the...

 (known as Aḥer) is singled out as an apostate and epicurean by the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

.

During the Spanish inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

, a systematic conversion of Jews to Christianity took place, some of which under threats and force. These cases of apostasy provoked the indignation of the Jewish communities in Spain.

Several notorious Inquisitors, such as Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada, O.P. was a fifteenth century Spanish Dominican friar, first Inquisitor General of Spain, and confessor to Isabella I of Castile. He was described by the Spanish chronicler Sebastián de Olmedo as "The hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country, the...

, and Don Francisco the archbishop of Coria
Coria
Coria may refer to:People* Rodolfo Coria, Argentine paleontologist* Guillermo Coria, Argentine tennis playerPlacesCoria is a Brythonic equivalent of the Latin Curia and may be used as a place-name in Roman Britain and elsewhere:...

, 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
Juan de Valladolid
Juan de Valladolid , also known as Juan Poeta , was a Castilian poet. Born Jewish, he converted to Christianity later in life. As a Marrano, or baptized Jew, he married a Christian woman named Jamila...

 and Astruc Remoch
Astruc Remoch
Astruc Remoch was a Jewish convert to Catholicism who made his mark in history by attempting the conversion of other Jews during the 14th century.Remoch was a medical doctor in Fraga, Spain in the 14th century...

.

Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar...

, 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.

In practice Judaism does not follow the Torrah's prescription on this point: there is no punishment today for leaving Judaism.

Other religious movements

Controversies over new religious movement
New religious movement
A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

s (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".

One camp that broadly speaking questions apostate narratives includes David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

, Daniel Carson Johnson,
Dr. Lonnie D. Kliever (1932–2004), Gordon Melton, and Bryan R. Wilson
Bryan R. Wilson
Bryan Ronald Wilson, , was Reader Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Oxford and President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion 1971-75.-Academic life:...

. An opposing camp less critical of apostate narratives as a group includes Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Dr. Phillip Charles Lucas, Jean Duhaime, Mark Dunlop, Michael Langone
Michael Langone
Michael D. Langone, is an American counseling psychologist who specialises in research about "cultic groups" and alleged psychological manipulation. He is executive director of the International Cultic Studies Association, editor of the journal Cultic Studies Review.Langone is author and co-author...

, and Benjamin Zablocki
Benjamin Zablocki
Benjamin Zablocki is and American professor of sociology at Rutgers University where he teaches sociology of religion and social psychology. He has published widely on the subject of charismatic religious movements and cults....

.

Some scholars have attempted to classify apostates of NRMs. James T. Richardson proposes a theory related to a logical relationship between apostates and whistleblower
Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

s, using Bromley's definitions, 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 new found role as whistleblowers. Armand L. Mauss, define true apostates as those exiters that have access to oppositional organizations which sponsor their careers as such, and which 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. Donald Richter, a current member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is one of the largest Mormon fundamentalist denominations and one of the largest organizations in the United States whose members practice polygamy. The FLDS Church emerged in the early twentieth century when its founding members left...

 (FLDS) writes that this can explain the writings of Carolyn Jessop
Carolyn Jessop
Carolyn Jessop is a former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints member who wrote Escape, an autobiographical account of her upbringing in the polygamist sect and later flight from that community. She is the cousin, by marriage, of Flora Jessop, another former FLDS member and...

 and Flora Jessop
Flora Jessop
Flora Jessop is an American social activist, author, and advocate for abused children.-Biography:Jessop grew up in Colorado City, Arizona. She was raised in a polygamous family, with two mothers and twenty-seven siblings, all members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...

, former members of the FLDS church who consistently sided with authorities when children of the YFZ ranch
YFZ Ranch
The YFZ Ranch, also known as the Yearning for Zion Ranch, is a community which housed as many as 700 people just outside of Eldorado in Schleicher County, Texas, United States. It is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . It is about southwest of San Angelo and ...

 were removed over charges of child abuse. However, Donald Richter remains a member in good standing and loyal to the leadership of the fundamentalist sect from which the former members fled and has no apparent training or expertise in psychology or behavioral sciences. Richter has been criticized for his biased and propaganda-style writing.

Massimo Introvigne
Massimo Introvigne
Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist and intellectual property consultant. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions , an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of tens of books and articles in...

 in his Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates defines three types of narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

s 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
    Professional
    A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

     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.

Notable examples

This is a list of some notable persons who have been reportedly labeled as apostates in reliable published sources.

Christianity

  • Julian the Apostate
    Julian the Apostate
    Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

     the Roman emperor
    Roman Emperor
    The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

    , given an Arian Christian education by those who assassinated his family, rejected his upbringing and declared himself to be a pagan once it was safe to do so.
  • Sir Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford was declared 'The Great Apostate' by Parliament in 1628 for changing his political support from Parliament
    Parliament
    A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

     to Charles I
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

    , thus shifting his religious support from Protestantism
    Protestantism
    Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

     to Arminianism
    Arminianism
    Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius and his historic followers, the Remonstrants...

    .
  • Abraham ben Abraham
    Abraham ben Abraham
    Abraham ben Abraham, also known as Count Valentine Potocki , is a legendary figure who is claimed to have been a Polish nobleman of the Potocki family who converted to Judaism and was burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church because he had renounced Catholicism and had become an observant...

    , (Count
    Count
    A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

     Valentine (Valentin, Walentyn) Potocki), a Polish nobleman
    Szlachta
    The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...

     of the Potocki
    Potocki
    Potocki is the surname of a Polish noble family.-History:The Potocki family is a great artistocratic family originated from Potok in the Kraków Voivodeship; their family name derives from that place name. The family is heavily entwined with the cultural development and history of Poland's Eastern...

     family who is claimed to have converted to Judaism
    Conversion to Judaism
    Conversion to Judaism is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people...

     and was burned at the stake
    Execution by burning
    Death by burning is death brought about by combustion. As a form of capital punishment, burning has a long history as a method in crimes such as treason, heresy, and witchcraft....

     in 1749 because he had renounced Catholicism
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

     and had become an observant
    613 mitzvot
    The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

     Jew.
  • Maria Monk
    Maria Monk
    Maria Monk was a Canadian woman who claimed to have been a nun who had been sexually exploited in her convent...

    , sometimes considered an apostate of the Catholic Church
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

    , though there is little evidence that she ever was a Catholic.
  • Lord George Gordon
    Lord George Gordon
    Lord George Gordon was a British politician best known for lending his name to the Gordon Riots of 1780....

    , initially a zealous Protestant and instigator of the Gordon riots
    Gordon Riots
    The Gordon Riots of 1780 were an anti-Catholic protest against the Papists Act 1778.The Popery Act 1698 had imposed a number of penalties and disabilities on Roman Catholics in England; the 1778 act eliminated some of these. An initial peaceful protest led on to widespread rioting and looting and...

     of 1780, he finally renounced Christianity and converted to Judaism
    Judaism
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

    , for which he was ostracized.
  • Brian Moore
    Brian Moore (novelist)
    Brian Moore was a Northern Irish novelist and screenwriter who emigrated to Canada and later lived in the United States. He was acclaimed for the descriptions in his novels of life in Northern Ireland after the Second World War, in particular his explorations of the inter-communal divisions of The...

    , spoke strongly about the effect of the Catholic Church on life in Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    .
  • Martin Luther
    Martin Luther
    Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

    , by the strict definition of apostasy according to the catholic church the founder of Lutheranism
    Lutheranism
    Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

     was considered both an apostate and heretic
    Heretic
    A heretic is a person who commits heresy.In literature:* Heretic, an autobiography of Peter Cameron* Heretic , the third volume in The Grail Quest series by Bernard CornwellIn music:...

    . Most protestants would naturally disagree, calling him a liberator and revolutionary
    Revolutionary
    A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

    .

Islam

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Ayaan Hirsi Magan Ali is a Somali-Dutch feminist and atheist activist, writer, politician who strongly opposes circumcision and female genital cutting. She is the daughter of the Somali politician and opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse and is a founder of the women's rights organisation the AHA...

     labelled an apostate by Theo van Gogh
    Theo van Gogh (film director)
    Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh was a Dutch film director, film producer, columnist, author and actor.Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam and aroused controversy among Muslims...

     according to Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • 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
    Dhaka
    Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

  • Younus Shaikh from Pakistan was sentenced to death for his remarks on Muhammad
    Muhammad
    Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

    , considered blasphemous

See also

  • Religious conversion
    Religious conversion
    Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

  • Forced conversion
    Forced conversion
    A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

  • Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance is intolerance against another's religious beliefs or practices.-Definition:The mere statement on the part of a religion that its own beliefs and practices are correct and any contrary beliefs incorrect does not in itself constitute intolerance...

  • Apostasia of 1965
    Apostasia of 1965
    The terms Apostasia or Iouliana or the Royal Coup are used to describe the political crisis in Greece that centred around 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...

  • Defection
    Defection
    In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

  • Treason
    Treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...


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 http://www.fwbo-files.com/CofC.htm
  • Introvigne, Massimo
    Massimo Introvigne
    Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist and intellectual property consultant. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions , an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of tens of books and articles in...

     
    Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates: A Quantitative Study of Former Members of New Acropolis in France – paper delivered at the 1997 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Francisco, November 23, 1997 http://www.cesnur.org/testi/Acropolis.htm
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia (1906). The Kopelman Foundation. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com
  • 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
    Journal of Contemporary Religion
    The Journal of Contemporary Religion is a triannual peer-reviewed academic journal which covers anthropological, sociological, psychological, and philosophical aspects of religion.- History and format :...

     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 1591022177; ISBN 978-1591022176
  • Dubreuil, J. P. 1994 L'Église de Scientology. Facile d'y entrer, difficile d'en sortir. Sherbrooke: private edition (ex-Church of Scientology
    Church of Scientology
    The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

    )
  • Huguenin, T. 1995 Le 54e Paris Fixot (ex-Ordre du Temple Solaire who would be the 54th victim)
  • Kaufmann, Inside Scientology/Dianetics: How I Joined Dianetics/Scientology and Became Superhuman, 1995 http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/Web/People/dst/Library/Shelf/kaufman/isd/isd.htm
  • Lavallée, G. 1994 L'alliance de la brebis. Rescapée de la secte de Moïse, Montréal: Club Québec Loisirs (ex-Roch Thériault
    Roch Theriault
    Roch "Moïse" Thériault was the leader of a small religious group based near Burnt River, Ontario, Canada. Between 1977 and 1989 he held sway over as many as 12 adults and 22 children, he had 26 children when he passed, fathering the other 4 during visits in prison from some of the "wives"...

    )
  • Pignotti, Monica, My nine lives in Scientology, 1989, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/pignotti/
  • Wakefield, Margery, Testimony, 1996 http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/Web/People/dst/Library/Shelf/wakefield/testimony.html
  • Lawrence Woodcraft, Astra Woodcraft, Zoe Woodcraft, The Woodcraft Family, Video Interviews http://www.xenutv.com/interviews/woodcrafts.htm


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 0801034477
  • Malinoski, Peter, Thoughts on Conducting Research with Former Cult Members , Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2001 http://www.culticstudiesreview.com/csr_articles/malinoski_peter.htm
  • Palmer, Susan J. Apostates and their Role in the Construction of Grievance Claims against the Northeast Kingdom/Messianic Communities http://www.12tribes.org/controversies/apostatesandtheirrole.html
  • Wilson, S.G., Leaving the Fold: Apostates and Defectors in Antiquity. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0800636759; ISBN 978-0800636753
  • Wright, Stuart. "Post-Involvement Attitudes of Voluntary Defectors from Controversial New Religious Movements". 'Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 23 (1984):172–182.
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