Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Abandonment of one's religious faith, a political party, one's principles, or a cause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The renunciation of a belief or set of beliefs.
  • n. Specifically, the renunciation of one's religion or faith.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An abandonment of what one has voluntarily professed; a total desertion of departure from one's faith, principles, or party; esp., the renunciation of a religious faith.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion of, or departure from, one's faith, principles, or party.
  • n. In theology, a total abandonment of the Christian faith.
  • n. In Rom. Cath. eccles. law: A persistent rejection of ecclesiastical authority by a member of the church. An abandonment without permission of the religious order of which one is a member. A renunciation of the clerical profession by one who has received major orders.
  • n. In medicine, same as apostasis.
  • n. Also spelled apostacy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of having rejected your religious beliefs or your political party or a cause (often in favor of opposing beliefs or causes)
  • n. the act of abandoning a party for cause

Etymologies

Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasiā, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin apostasia, from Ancient Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia, "defection, revolt"), from ἀφίστημι (aphistēmi, "I withdraw, revolt"), from ἀπό (apo, "from") + ἵστημι (histēmi, "I stand") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term apostasy is derived from Greek, meaning "political rebel", as applied to rebellion against God, its law and the faith of Israel.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • For instance, death for apostasy is universal in the major schools of Islam.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Anti-Islam Bus Ads in Miami

  • From a personal perspective, I have judged the ACoC and TEC to be in apostasy and the ABC to be actively defending both TEC and ACoC.

    Who are the real Anglicans? « Anglican Samizdat

  • In fact making the death sentence mandatory for apostasy and promoting apostasy is a very powerful way for ascendant Iran to make an offensive gesture to the USA, the rival power it is gradually replacing as hegemon in Iraq and the wider Middle East.

    Iran: Parliament passes apostasy death bill

  • Different Protestants date the occurrence of this apostasy to different times: in the famous Halley's Bible Handbook, a great apostasy is associated with the legalization and acceptance of Christianity in the Roman Empire, whereas in his book Faith Alone, for reasons he doesn't explain, R.C. Sproul chooses the High Middle Ages as the time when "the light of the Gospel went out."

    Taylor vs. Cowan

  • Calvinists are hard-pressed to explain apostasy from such a doctrine and are hard-pressed to explain various scripture passages warning of apostasy and its consequences.

    How I Became a Sci Fi Catholic, Part 2

  • Muslim theologians must revise their understanding of Islamic law, and recognize that punishment for apostasy is merely the legacy of historical circumstances and political calculations stretching back to the early days of Islam.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • Liberalism leads directly to spiritual apostasy from the Church, but it leaves the individual the sole judge of his conduct.

    A Warning

  • And as you seem to like using the word apostasy, please learn to spell it hint: it only has one ‘t’.

    Birds of a Feather Flock Together - The Panda's Thumb

  • Shelley's address to Wordsworth's apostasy is not simply a matter of outflanking the elder poet, nor is it a case of capitulating to a more established literary style and taste, or indeed to his own disappointed admiration.

    _Alastor_, Apostasy, and the Ecology of Criticism

Comments

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  • From p. 70 of Patrick Leigh Fermor's "A Time to Keep Silence":

    There is no secular power that can hold a monk captive in his cloister; indeed, the anticlerical bias of many governments would consider every desertion as a blow against obscurantism and reactionary forces. But apostasy is very rare.

    January 21, 2014