31 October 2011

Plans to "come out" soon!

I've got a lot of things cooking lately.
  • As you may have noticed, I started an index for Letters to a Doubting Thomas, which means a lot of work writing up thoughts
  • I've got comments to write for The Agnostic Inquirer as well
  • I've got two posts to finish on Faith and Certitude from more than a year ago
  • I'm working on a second draft of my analysis of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing
  • I've been slacking on homeowner duties... rebuilding snowblower carburetor (I'm in MN, remember?), putting film on any leaky windows, taking out window AC units, etc.
  • Did I mention I'm a husband with two kids?
Nevertheless, I'm really pushing to get my "statement of nonbelief" finished and sent to those who still don't know. My wife and I were involved in a Catholic campus outreach which led us to become lifelong professed members of a community for Catholic singles and families. Many of these folks (probably in the couple of hundreds) still don't know after almost two years that I no longer believe in god. Heck, even my non-immediate family doesn't know -- I got asked to lead Thanksgiving prayer a year ago and that certainly didn't feel like the time to say something, so I just made something up on the spot.

One could make the case for having done this sooner, perhaps especially with family given the situation above. It's just so awkward and difficult... and I don't want to have the same one on one conversation over coffee many hundred times. Thus, I settled on a document/statement format.

I'm at the point where I'm comfortable enough in my non-belief and don't foresee anything changing unless something really radical occurs that I'd like to inform them of my non-belief in the very near future. I now have a completed draft I've been showing around a bit, and hope to have the final draft done in a couple of weeks. At that point I'll mass email it around and brace myself.

I'm wondering if any of my readers would like to take a look at it and provide feedback. I've done this with a few already, but I'd be particularly interested in hearing from any who have been through this sort of thing and could provide input as to my approach, format, verbosity, etc. I targeted a very non-debate-inspiring document almost entirely devoid of any specific reasons for my deconversion. At least one person who's read this disagreed with me and made the point that this might be the only time that some actually see arguments against the faith. I definitely got the point, but I've just had such bad experiences when conversations turn to specifics, that I'm still fairly firm in my original decision. I want this document to be primarily about understanding what I went through. My intuitions (which can and have been horridly wrong) have led me to imagine someone reading my statement (again, about understanding me), coming to my list of reasons, popping open a draft email or notes program, and starting to type rebuttals and lists of books that prove me wrong. At that point it's game over for the mission. It's now a debate focused on the content only, not the understanding I want to build between myself and those around me.\

In any case, comment with an email address if you'd like to take a look at my draft (and please conceal it, for example: "jw [dot] hendy; I use gmail"). I'm excited to finish, and think that it will mark a significant turning point in my journey -- I appreciate the assistance and support of others I've had along the way.

Many thanks and stay tuned for the final document.


DoOrDoNot said...

IT's good to hear from you again. I haven't written such a letter myself, so my input may not be what you need. However, I'll be happy to read it and provide feedback if you like. shrinkmom; i use gmail.

LifeTrekker said...

I know you are not keen on including specific arguments in your "coming out" document, but what if you wrote a supplemental document that included the ideas that were the most influential in leading to your de-conversion and posted it on your blog and/or told people in your document that you would be happy to send it to them just for the asking. That way the people that are interesting in investigating further could do so. Just a thought...

Good luck in your final edits. I'm looking forward to reading your completed document.


Hendy said...

@LifeTrekker: The initials and handle give you away :) I'm hoping to eventually build up what you suggest via my sidebar link, Why I don't believe. Unfortunately, I've done an absolutely horrid job filling out that outline!

I may need to give that more consideration. I told a friend tonight about my plans to send this out and she predicted a massive response rate. Perhaps I'm not prepared for handling that! I can't have coffee with 300 people; perhaps I really should have something like you suggest. At the very least, perhaps I could fill in the outline with books/blogs/articles I've read on each of my subjects, or at least give a very "layman's" summary of my thoughts. That wouldn't be too hard. Thanks for the suggestion!

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