What motivates and makes a religious apostate

by Nick Broadhurst

Created on: March 20, 2010 Last Updated: March 29, 2010

What makes an apostate? An apostate is described in a dictionary as someone who abandons what they believed in, their faith or cause (Webster's Dictionary). The word apostate comes from two Greek words that mean to go away from where one stands. So a person was once part of a group. Usually the word is used to denote someone having left his former religion. Sometimes he attacks his former group. Why?

Apostate testimony is generally thought to be of suspect value. Why?

There are natural reasons why people leave a group. Here are some of them.

A person could get false data on the group by a third party that turns them against their former group. When conflict occurs between a group and its former members, count on this third part being in the background giving false data. The third party is working to create that conflict. This can happen in a small group, as between husband and wife, or on a big scale, where intelligence operatives from one country can work and act as a third party between other countries. Such can be the cause of war.

Another reason for apostates is that people leave a group because they have done things to the group that they have grown ashamed of. Often it is accidental, not deliberate, but they are ashamed anyway. Generally victims of their own misdeeds crave a reason to explain to others why they left that group. Their reasons are easy to spot, "I had to leave because of look what they did to me…". In reality it is what have they done to their group that caused them to leave. This is not just Scientology I am writing here about, it is any group, even a marriage. Man is basically good and he leaves the group so as to protect it. But he must justify his actions to himself and others and this is how it is done.

When a person has committed an action to harm another or a group, he has a motivational force within him to be right. It is survival for a person to be right. In following this force to be right, if a harmful act is done, the person will feel compelled to repeat the same harmful act, over and over. Sometimes he does it oblivious to himself that he is following this pattern. This is why apostates are particularly dangerous to their former group as far as testimony goes. Once they have said an untruth they can do it over and over again.

The next thing to note is that everyone is somewhere on what we can term a cycle-of-action with regards that former group. A person can be at the beginning or end of his association with a group, or somewhere in between. The cycle could be said to be create – survive – destroy, and it is natural to finally fall out of a group and destroy it in some way. But this phenomenon does not mean that all apostates are actively and viciously trying to destroy all their former groups. They are just somewhere on that cycle, that is all. Eventually they will fall off.

And a last point to note is that a person will help as much as he can be counted on to destroy. Help and destroy are on the same coin, just different sides. So if a person was a great contributor to a group, he can also be counted on to be a great destroyer as well later if the above forces are at play. One should also note that for that person who outgrew a group or left for some other reason, he will just leave the group and likely have something good to say about it. But those who are attacking and denigrating their former group, marriage or country, the above applies.

Well, that is all the apostate philosophy I have summed up. I hope this helps people understand apostates better. Often they were once great people helping on a great cause, regardless of the religion – as pretty much all religions are good.

So I hope this helps people understand their fellow man a bit better.