If your friend became interested in Hinduism, with its many gods and rituals, her Catholic mother might be worried that her daughter was a heretic, or a person whose religious beliefs are in contrast to the fundamental beliefs of her church.

The noun heretic is mostly used in a religious context to talk about someone whose actions or beliefs act against the laws, rules, or beliefs of some specific religion. However, heretic can also be used in a non-religious way to mean "someone whose ideas go against the norm." Say your regular hangout is a cowboy honky-tonk and most of your friends play in country bands; you might be considered a heretic if you announced that your favorite kind of music is actually opera.

Definitions of heretic

n a person who holds religious beliefs in conflict with official dogma, especially of the Roman Catholic Church

misbeliever, religious outcast
Type of:
Ishmael, castaway, outcast, pariah
a person who is rejected (from society or home)

n a person who holds unorthodox opinions in any field (not merely religion)

Type of:
nonconformist, recusant
someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct

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