The word apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia, which means to defect or revolt. Apostasy is the act of leaving or rejecting a religion or religious worldview. An apostate is someone who has left or been forced to leave a religion. These two terms, referring to the action and the actor, respectively, have been widely used in the sociology of religion to describe people who leave religions, although their use has declined in recent years. It is possible that the declining use of these two terms in recent years is the result of a growing recognition of the politicization of the terms as well as a growing ecumenical worldview among people in the West.

Although apostasy and ‘apostate’ can be used in a relatively ...

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