An "open minded believer's" story

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

I posted stories on my blog about "nones," ie people who identify with "none of the above" when it comes to religion.  Those postings got a big response, so I thought I'd move over on the spiritual spectrum a bit to see if I could find people who still "kind of" identify with a religion or a tradition within a religion but could see themselves changing religions if the right one came along.  I called this type of person an open minded believer.

Brian is a 45 year old former Oak Parker who has moved to Charlotte, NC.  He used to be a banker but now is a "stay at home dad for now and enjoying our children and our new city."

He said, "I wasn't inundated with God in my life. I grew up Catholic, and attended CCD and was confirmed in 8th grade, but we did not attend church every Sunday. I would say we rarely/seldom attended church. My dad's side of the family was not religious in the least bit. But my mom's mother - was and is very religious. So the catholic side came from my mom's side of the family."

He continued, "Growing up I'd say that I pretty much believed everything I was taught. It wasn't until I was in junior high / high school that I thought, "Am I really going to hell if I eat meat on a Friday during lent?"

It was during his teenage years and early twenties that he began to question the beliefs he held wholeheartedly as a child.

He said, "I still consider myself a Catholic, but I have not been to a catholic Sunday mass in probably about 10-12 years.  I do hold on to my beliefs (pretty solidly) - but I do ask more questions, and are more 'open' to other ideas now."

While saying that he holds on to his beliefs "pretty solidly, he at the same time can picture himself changing traditions or even religions.  "I don't think it would take too much to actually change a church/religion. If I identified with a church and its congregation and thought it was nice, and their beliefs were pretty much in line with mine, I could attend that church and choose that religion."

He talked about what changed him from an unquestioning believer to an open minded believer.  "I'd say experiences that have changed/informed my outlook are my wife, who is very open minded about religion. But also having a group of friends with wide ranges of religions and some being atheists. But I also feel more strongly about some Catholic views after having our two daughters."


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