Definition of Apostasy
This term comes from the Greek and is formed from the words apo and stasis. The first means to move away from and the second means rebellion. This word is used in the religious context and it indicates that a person has separated from a religious doctrine. In other words, it is a break with some religious beliefs. Who leads this decision is an apostate.
Differences between apostate, atheist, agnostic and heretic
– An apostate is the person who expresses his desire to officially disassociate himself from a religious current or a church.
– An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of a God.
– An agnostic does not deny its existence, but affirms that it is something unprovable.
– A heretic is the one who teaches a religious doctrine different from the official doctrine and, therefore, a heresy is an idea considered false (for example, for the Catholic Church the affirmation that Christ is not God held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a heresy).
In the context of the Catholic Church
In the Catholic tradition, children are baptized a few days after their birth and from that moment on they become Catholics through the act of baptism. In this sense, when a Catholic becomes an adult he can renounce his membership in the church and opt for another Christian doctrine or else not be linked to any other church.
In practice it is a complex and very unusual procedure. In the first place, those who want to separate themselves from the Catholic faith must present a series of documents (basically, the baptismal certificate and identity document) and then present a form of apostasy.
All this is referred to the corresponding diocese.
Finally, the heads of the diocese issue a document formally stating that the applicant abandons the Catholic faith.
The act of apostasy may be motivated by the loss of faith or by not sharing the precepts of Catholicism. Whoever makes this decision considers it important that there be a certified document stating that he is no longer part of the
In the context of Islam there is a debate about what should be the punishment associated with the renunciation of the abandonment of faith
If a follower of the Islamic faith decides to convert to another religion, for example to Christianity, he can be accused of apostasy.
The punishment imposed may even be the death penalty. In this religious context, whoever moves away from beliefs is called murtad.
As is logical, the possibility of being punished for the abandonment of the faith provokes a controversy among the interpreters of Islam itself.