It was with great sadness that we received the news today that Andreas Heldal-Lund had died, after a long illness.
We have had the pleasure of knowing Andreas over many years through his involvement in the Norwegian Humanist Association, at all levels and in countless roles. At the same time, we have been able to follow him in his involvement outside the association.
Andreas became the first recipient of the Norwegian Humanists Association’s honorary award. It is a national recognition of extraordinary commitment to the organisation. He was active in the association for a lifetime, and showed a great heart and deep commitment to the Norwegian Humanists Association, in many fields.
He joined the association when he was in his early twenties and found his place there as a volunteer in the confirmation work – something he has described as incredibly inspiring and developing. In order to be able to discuss ethics and important questions with 14-15-year-olds, he spent a lot of time himself reflecting on outlook on life, ethics and choices; how to make the right choices, good choices for yourself and others.
Many cohorts of confirmants – both in his own local chapter and many neighboring local chapters – will never forget the “neuroscientist” who brought a plastic-wrapped brain in a cooler and tricked them and who was able to convey the importance of critical thinking and reflection.
Andreas has been an important organizer in his local chapter for many years – also socially.
In addition to being a confirmation leader himself, he had been involved in the training of other confirmation leaders, led ceremonies and was a speaker, gave lectures and initiated and organized countless philosophy cafes locally. And when the association got the right to marry, he also became a wedding celebrant – a popular wedding celebrant, who received a lot of good feedback.
He has held positions in the association’s highest board and in the national election committee. Our association’s backbone is the hundreds of active members who put in a lot of effort to keep the association’s many lifestyle and organizational activities going, we have been lucky to have had Andreas as one of these volunteers.
And although as a young church-critical atheist activist he threw a cross from the Prekestolen, his commitment was primarily characterized by tolerance, curiosity and openness to other people. He always had a genuine desire to understand what drives others.
This humanist has not only made a formidable contribution to our association, but has also left a mark internationally. Curiosity, a heart for freedom of expression and early internet knowledge made him an important figure in the fight against the Church of Scientology’s censorship of and legal attacks on critics. Through his website Operation Clambake in Norway, he spread information about the Church of Scientology that it would not have spread, and helped the media and critics to use that information without fear of lawsuits. And he contributed through his personal commitment to helping many people break away from the Church of Scientology.
He was always good at seeing and recognizing the people he met, and in 2022 it was our turn to see and recognize him. Now we will remember him, our friend and valued colleague.
We offer our condolences to everyone who was close to Andreas, and at the same time encourage us all to carry on the values that were so important to him. Generosity, equality, courage, commitment and care for others.
Signe Lill Maas
Regional president, Norwegian Humanist Association Rogaland
President, Norwegian Humanist Association
Christian Lomsdalen er ph.d-stipendiat ved Universitetet i Bergen etter mange år i den videregående skolen som lektor. Ved siden av dette lager han podkast og leder Human-Etisk Forbund. Du finner han også på podkastene Tanketrigger, Frokostkaffen, og PedsexPod. Han er førstegenerasjons bergenser, far og bonusfar til fire, og alltid engasjert. Ateist, feminist og humanist.