Zena Ryder

Name: Zena Ryder

Birthplace: Britain
What type of work do you do?
Now that I’ve finished my PhD, I’m currently pursuing volunteer opportunities while homeschooling one of my kids and looking for a job that pays some actual, real money! In the past, as well as volunteering with Centre for Inquiry, I’ve also volunteered with Fair Vote Canada, the Kelowna Food Bank, and the Green Party of Canada. I’m currently volunteering with KASHA and Dying with Dignity. I’m looking forward to volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club’s restorative justice program, and also at the SPCA alongside my son and lots of cats.
How would you identify yourself in terms of religion/spirituality?
What are some of your reasons for joining?
Partly it was to hang out with critical thinkers, but my reasons developed over time. I want to help develop
a secular and skeptic community that is doing good things within the larger community.
Are there any books or movies that have had a big impact on you?
I can’t think of any specific books or movies that had a big impact, but I recommend “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre — it’s very entertaining. I also like “The Brick Bible,” which uses Lego people to tell the stories of the Bible.
Where were some of the defining moments that brought you to the point where you are now, in a religious/spiritual sense?
Well, I’ve never believed in God, but in my late teens and early 20s, I tried very hard to believe. I wished for a God so I could express my gratitude
to Him. I dabbled in Judaism in my early 20s, and I really liked the community, the music, the rituals. I thought that maybe if I went to the synagogue, religious belief would rub off on me, but it didn’t, and of course I’m content with that now. There are many things that religion gets right though. There are a lot of beautiful things within religion, if people can pick and choose parts of it and then discard the rest. And a belief in God is not necessary.