Have a Little Faith
This book (and to a lesser extent, Mitch Albom’s other books) turned me from an antitheist who looked down on religion to a plain old apatheist who now feels that religion has something vital to offer the human experience. It is a biographical story about two preachers from two different religions, and the different paths they took towards faith.
“In the beginning, there was another question. “Will you save me, Jesus?” This man was holding a shotgun. He hid behind trash cans in front of a Brooklyn row house. It was late at night. His wife and baby daughter were crying. He watched for cars coming down his block, certain the next set of headlights would be his killers. “Will you save me, Jesus?” he asked, trembling. “If I promise to give myself to you, will you save me tonight?” Picture the most pious man you know. Your priest. Your pastor. Your rabbi. Your imam. Now picture him in dirty clothes, a shotgun in his hand, begging for salvation from behind a set of trash cans. Picture the man who sends people off to heaven, begging not to be sent to hell. “Please, Lord,” he whispered. “If I promise…”
This is a story about believing in something and the two very different men who taught me how. It took a long time to write. It took me to churches and synagogues, to the suburbs and the city, to the “us” versus “them” that divides faith around the world.”
"”Look. I know what I believe. It’s in my soul. But I constantly tell our people: you should be convinced of the authenticity of what you have, but you must also be humble enough to say that we don’t know everything. And since we don’t know everything, we must accept that another person may believe something else.” He sighed. “I’m not being original here, Mitch. Most religions teach us to love our neighbor.” I thought about how much I admired him at that moment. How he never, even in private, even in old age, tried to bully another belief, or bad-mouth someone else’s devotion. And I realized I had been a bit of a coward on this whole faith thing. I should have been more proud, less intimidated. I shouldn’t have bitten my tongue. If the only thing wrong with Moses is that he’s not yours; if the only thing wrong with Jesus is that he’s not yours; if the only thing wrong with mosques, Lent, chanting, Mecca, Buddha, confession, or reincarnation is that they’re not yours — well, maybe the problem is you.
One more question? I asked the Reb. He nodded. When someone from another faith says, “God bless you,” what do you say? “I say, ‘Thank you, and God bless you, too.’” Really? “Why shouldn’t I?” I went to answer and realized I had no answer. No answer at all.”