Edited 3/4/2012: I shortened up the summary a bit and add the following update:
Thanks for the lively comments. As a preliminary summary of things I've found quite useful/helpful:
Overall, I was initially a bit discouraged. This took a lot of effort and so it's frustrating to contemplate changing directions. Due to reading a very generously shared similar PDF document (from someone I'll leave anonymous unless they'd like to be named), I'm much more upbeat about doing so. I plan to:
- Create two documents. One very simple, plain-language, frank relating of the fact that I no longer believe in god. I'd like to write it just as though I were saying it personally to someone, easing them into hearing this (like Bugmaster suggested, except that actually doing this in person is impractical for me)
- The second will be my actual list of reasons. I think it will be valuable to actually spell them out, and many will want to know reasons anyway (and probably ask)
A question that came up in me from the comments below is what worth this actually brings about. I don't find myself compelled to write a dissertation-style document defending my power tool purchases, Linux custom kernel options, or why I listen to the music I do. I am aware of a desire for validation, to feel that I've done enough with respect to my "quest," to prove myself on this topic. I'm still wrestling with whether this is completely irrational and unnecessary, or only partially so, validated by the fact of my social/environmental circumstances that do present some real obstacles that this document could help alleviate.
Open to any thoughts on that last bit as well. Thanks again for the valuable input.
It's almost one year later, and I've finally made tangible progress on some of the input suggested in my post about being non-religious in a primarily religious environment. That is, I have a near-final draft of a "coming out" statement I plan to share with a majority of those who know me.
I was involved in two religious communities for about six years of my life (SPO and CCR). Two years post-deconversion from Catholicism, many of them still do not know I no longer believe in god. This can make for awkward interactions for myself, as well as for my wife, who's still a believer. She thought it would be helpful if everyone was on the same page, as did I.
I'd like input from anyone willing to read my statement below. Whatever comes to mind will be helpful. I had a first draft done in Sept 2011 that I sent to my parents and brother (both non-religious) as well as a few of my blog readers. I'll post their input in perhaps a week to avoid influencing any expectations you currently have for the document.
Many thanks for thoughts and comments (or support/hesitation concerning with proceeding as described above). Also, thanks to the LW in general for all the previous support and encouragement during a difficult time. For a sometimes intimidating band of rationalists, your words have been surprisingly comforting and helpful when I've come here in emotionally difficult times. Many thanks for that; I think this document will help a lot with me moving on with my life and I value the input from this community.
As a forewarning... it's 10 pages single-spaced. I don't anticipate it to be an agonizing read, though. I hope it's well written enough to be interesting and easy reading.