What do you believe?

Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?


Ezekiel Emanuel: Mostly to go around trying to do good things in the world. To try to help people, and to try to do what I can to make sure that the world’s better for my having passed through and consumed all the resources that I have.


Question: Do religion and faith inform your worldview?


Ezekiel Emanuel: I’m a practicing atheist, by which I mean I do not believe in God. I don’t understand exactly what that would mean.

On the other hand, I do go to synagogue every week, very religiously, and take that very seriously. And actually, the synagogues that I have gone to over my lifetime have been wonderful, almost all because they have no rabbi. They’re all run by people who are in them. And I have been fortunate enough to go with people who are incredibly smart.

The place I go to now is; none of them are famous. It’s called an ______ synagogue. They would probably be horrified if any one of them were famous. They are brilliant people. They read the Bible brilliantly. They have brilliant insights into what the Bible means, and it’s very inspiring to do. They’ve actually published a book of various insights that they’ve had called “Leaves from the Garden”, and it’s just an amazing thing.

On the other hand, Judaism is a religion of practice, not a religion of belief. And so even if you’ve lost faith, you’re told you’ve got to keep up with the practices. So I guess I fall into that category. No faith, but lots of religion.


Recorded: July 5, 2007


"I’m a practicing atheist."

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less