The host of This American Life, Ira Glass, did an interview with Beliefnet in anticipation of the upcoming second season of the Showtime TAL show.
The topics of religion (obviously) came up quite a bit:
How do you tell a story well?
There is a kind of structure for a story that was peculiarly compelling for the radio. I thought I had invented it atom-by-atom sitting in an editing booth in Washington on M Street when I was in my 20s. Then I found out that it is one of the oldest forms of telling a story — it was the structure of a sermon.
And if there was any doubt:
I saw on a website that you are an atheist. Was that was an evolution or were you raised that way?
When my people arrived in this country from the Old Country they started eating shellfish the day they arrived. They were very secular very quickly. So neither of my parents were raised with a religious education or in a shul, but they wanted their kids to have that. We all went to Hebrew school three times a week, my sisters and I, and then after that we all went off to Hebrew College three day a week. By the time I was 13, I found I just didn’t believe in God. I would argue with the rabbi who ran the Hebrew college, which is funny because now I have so many religious people in my life and I have done so many stories about religious people.
Would you want your kids to bar mitzvah?
I don’t know. Culturally I am a Jew. I don’t have a choice about it. You can’t lose your cultural heritage like luggage at the airport. It’s a part of me. But my kids…it is weird to indoctrinate your child into something that you don’t believe. It violates some sort of golden rule. I don’t think it is bad to raise your child as an atheist, but I say that as someone without children.
If you’re not downloading the TAL podcast already, do it. It’s by far the best podcast out there.