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Have a Little Faith

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Have a Little Faith asks, “What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together?” How would you begin to answer this question? Which of the world’s ills could be healed, which wrongs could be made right, if religion were more of a unifying force?

At the end of the chapter called “Church” (page 140) Albom describes the Hindu celebration of Kumbh Mela, a gathering that’s been called “the world’s largest single act of faith.” In your own life, have you ever been a part of something big while doing something small? How did it make you feel?

How would you react if someone you knew asked you to write their eulogy? How would you go about doing so?

On page 176, Albom presents a quote from the Robert Browning Hamilton poem “Sadness.” What does this verse mean to you? How does it relate to the themes Albom explores in the book?

In describing the journeys of faith taken by the Reb and Pastor Henry, Mitch Albom discusses his complicated relationship to his Jewish beliefs. Talking about one’s religious faith is a personal endeavor; do you find it easy or difficult to talk to others about religion, specifically your relationship to it? Are you comfortable discussing religion with someone with different beliefs?

Have you read any of Mitch Albom’s other works, such as Tuesdays with Morrie, or his novels The Five People You Meet in Heaven or For One More Day? What does Have a Little Faith have in common with Albom’s other books?

How can many faiths coexist? If different faiths have different beliefs, how can they all be correct? Does one faith have the right or obligation to convert members of the others? When Mitch asks this of the Reb, he explains that just as there are a variety of trees, multiple faiths all come from the same God (page 160). What do you think about the Reb’s explanation? Can dialogue and debate about different beliefs, as the Reb argues, really enrich one’s own faith?

Compare and contrast the Reb and Pastor Henry. How are their stories similar, and different? Did you identify with one man more than the other?

In the chapter called “A Little History” (page 11) Albom describes his early religious education, and his resistance to it. Did you receive any religious instruction as a child? If so, did you enjoy it, or did you experience it the same way Mitch did, going to lessons feeling like a “dragged prisoner”?

Albom talks about his ambivalence toward his New Jersey childhood home, characterizing it as being “too small for what I wanted to achieve in life, like being stuck wearing your grade school clothes” (page 25). What do you think of your hometown now? Why are hometowns so pivotal to how people are shaped?

Consider what the Reb says to Albom in the chapter “May: Ritual” (page 42): “‘Mitch,’ he said, ‘faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.’ ” Do you agree with the Reb’s sentiment?

“It is far more comforting to think God listened and said no, than to think nobody’s out there” (page 82). What do you think of this statement by the Reb? Do you agree?

Both the Reb and Pastor Henry describe what they believe to be the keys to happiness. What do you think the secrets to happiness are? Where might faith fall on such a list?

In “September: What Is Rich?” (page 112) Albom explores the Reb’s childhood as an impoverished son of immigrants living in New York City. After finishing this chapter, how would you answer the question asked in its title? What does “rich” mean to you?