Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion.
Heresy is usually used to discuss violations of religious or traditional laws or legal codes, although it is used by some political extremists to refer to their opponents. It carries the connotation of behaviors or beliefs likely to undermine accepted morality and cause tangible evils, damnation, or other punishment. In some religions, it also implies that the heretic is in alliance with the religion's symbol of evil, such as Satan or chaos. In certain historical Christian, Jewish, and some modern cultures, espousing ideas deemed heretical was punishable by law.
Famous quotes containing the word heresy:
“They that approve a private opinion, call it an opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.”
—Thomas Hobbes (15881679)
“A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.”
—Eric Hoffer (19021983)
“The difference between heresy and prophecy is often one of sequence. Heresy often turns out to have been prophecywhen properly aged.”
—Hubert H. Humphrey (19111978)