Thoughts of Apostasy
A Lecture Series
In the pre-modern world, the concept of apostasy grew out of religious traditions and served as a powerful tool of religious and political establishments for denoting individuals and ideas that negated religious truths. In the modern era, famous apostates are usually perceived as culture heroes who have saved the world from the ignorance imposed by religion and who have brought the tidings of progress.
The view that apostasy is the diametric opposite of faith assumes a hermetic, certain truth whose opposite is apostasy. But what happens when that certain truth is challenged, or when there are many truths and not a single, certain one? Who will decide then what apostasy is? Does apostasy no longer have a role in the new contexts of secularism and religiosity? What is the connection between heresy and “loyalty”? What happens to culture without the possibility of heresy?
In this lecture series we will examine anew the term “apostasy” as it developed within the religions, particularly how it functions today in a secularized world. We will discuss the fundamental truths of our society and what it means to reject them. We will ponder who the apostates of today are and what their cultural role is, and reexamine the binary division between apostates and believers.