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Apostasy is the formal religious disaffiliation, abandonment, or renunciation by a person of a religion. One who commits apostasy apostatizes and is an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday use. The term is used by sociologists to mean renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, a person's former religion, in a technical sense and without pejorative connotation.

The word derives from Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia), meaning a defection or revolt, from ἀπό, apo, "away, apart", στάσις, stasis, "stand", "standing". The term is sometimes also used to refer to renunciation of a belief or cause by extension of the religious connotation, such as in reference to a political party or (generally facetiously) a sports team.

Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: very few former believers call themselves apostates because of the pejorative implications of the term. Many religious movements consider it a vice (sin), a corruption of the virtue of piety, in the sense that when piety fails apostasy is the result.

Heresy is distinct from apostasy; it is rejection of or disagreement with some doctrines, not the complete abandonment of a religion. Heretics consider that they are still be following their religion (or even to be the "true believers"), whereas apostates reject it entirely.

Many religious groups and some states punish apostates. Apostates may be shunned 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 happen spontaneously. A Christian church may in certain circumstances respond to apostasy by excommunicating the apostate, while some Abrahamic scriptures (Judaism: Deuteronomy 13:6–10) and Islam: al-Bukhari, Diyat, bab 6 demand the death penalty for apostates.
source: Wikipedia
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