the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world
Apostasy, ΑΠΟΣΤΑΣΙΑ or ΑΠΟΣΤΑΣΙΣ, literally “standing away” and more dramatically “rebellion”, is the abandonment of a belief, or a belief system, and especially, a faith. It’s common to think only of conventional religions, but we each have many more faiths than one, and breaking free of our nominal faiths does not by itself make us free. Apostasy is a practice, a way of thinking, in the end a habit of mind. The true rationalist is, intellectually, alone. While we can hope that the reasoning process is rigorous enough that we might finally reconvene around a set of universal truths, the reality is that we all begin with different experiences and different perspectives, and the persistent fact of a rational life is the movement away from one doctrine after another, from one group after another, from one centralizing ideology after another.
What follows is the narrative and reflections on my own apostasy, of which the break from my native Christianity was only the earliest and most obvious. Nationalism and patriotism were harder to break from; they are more pervasive, so the rejection of nationalism is more isolating. And hardest of all is to break with those who also seem to be apostates, those who romanticize rebellion but in the end conform to the aesthetic and ideology of rebellion itself. As I write this introduction, more than a decade later (the undated pieces are generally from 1995-2000), I have learned how important the last is. Conformity of thought and group cohesion can be just as strong within the smaller groups that pride themselves on breaking with the larger society.
Homeland: origins of apostasy
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