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The Human Right to Apostate

Updated on December 9, 2009

 It is written in the United  Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, :

 Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Please note the right to "freedom to change his religion or belief". This is a right for anyone. It doesn't matter if his parents have tried to make him a Christian, a Muslim or a this or that; if his conviction is another, it is his right not to be regarded as Christian or Muslim or whatever.

Please note the the right encompasses not only religion but also belief in general. Secular atheism is included, as well as non-theistic ways of life normally labelled as religions, for example Buddhism.

Please note that it does not include the right to mission, to proselytize, to force others to change their conviction, to respect the conscience of another less than one's own.

Please note that this right does not make the slightest difference between monotheists, polytheists and atheists.

And please not that whoever changes his "religion or belief" will perhaps be hailed as a convert by some, but the convert of some is always the apostate of others.

So apostasy is a basic human right.

According to tradition, both Abraham and Muhammad were brought up in a polytheistic religion but became monotheists; so to the polytheists, Abraham and Muhammed were apostates.

Already because of that, therefore, their followers will not encourage others to follow Abraham's or Muhammad's example if they try to force other people also to be, and to remain, their followers.

At the present point in history, the main culprits in this respect seem to be some Muslims; but Christians have been no better in the past. In my own country, Sweden, it happened as late as 1860 that some ladies were sentenced to forced exile because they had left the Lutheran State Church and converted to Catholicism, thus becoming converts to the Catholics and apostates to the Lutherans.
Shortly afterwards, the laws were changed, but for ninety more years it was possible to leave the state church only if immediately joining another Christian community; which meant that many honest Christians left the church, while every honest atheist had to remain a member...

I am an apostate myself. My parents tried to make me a good Christian, but failed; it turned out my deepest conviction is another, and that's it. To do them justice, they never threatened me in any way.

Other apostates/converts, including some friends of mine, are less lucky.

Be it very clear, however, that any law that forbids someone to leave one religious fold to enter another, or none, is violating this human right, and therefore invalid, regardless in which country it has been passed and which religions or philosophies are concerned.


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    • profile image

      Hope 2 years ago

      I am Ostranuel Senior Pastor of the Revival & Miracles Center Monrovia-Liberia West Africa I read your ministry and belivee in what you are doing how can I be part of it or attend any of your conference.thanks His servant.

    • OldWitchcraft profile image

      OldWitchcraft 5 years ago from The Atmosphere

      This basic human right is not observed by the Mormons or Scientologists, either. They are very hostile to people who want to leave the organizations, disagree with their doctrines or dare to report abuses. The use the word apostate in a very derogatory and accusatory way - the Mormons associate an apostate with Satan, the Adversary, killers, adulterers, etc. Scientologists do something similar. Both shun what the scienologists call SPs (Suppressive Persons).

      Good article! Voted up!

    • profile image

      opinion duck 8 years ago

      Usually, people inherit the religion and political party of their parents. This is done because the parents raise their children with their belief system.

      Politics, Religion and Sports generate loyal followers. This loyalty runs deep and it can be aggressive in many cases. Try sitting in the home team section in a sports event and root for the other team. Of course, soccer fans have been known to kill for their loyalty.

      Is this loyalty good, not really but that is the way it goes from generation to generation. Sure, there are those that rebel against their inheritance when they get older, but that is not the majority.

      I think that these factors make it a local problem, but in those countries where they stifle the beliefs of the parents, then the problem is bigger. Even if the child wants to change, the country wouldn't let them.

      In the latter case, the country becomes the parent that you inherit from, instead of your birth parents.

      No solutions, just stating my opinion.

    • Gunnar Gällmo profile image

      Gunnar Gällmo 8 years ago from Stockholm

      Are there civilized countries?

      Is there any country fully respecting the human rights?

      I couldn't name one. That's why I like to remind people about them.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      This right is not observed in many so-called civilized countries.