Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 10 December 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Edith Maria’s‘Good and Human rules’ for life

Tom Wilen, a Foundation member from New Jersey, writes:

“We atheists always get the argument from the religious folks that there cannot be any moral values without religion. In my family, my grandmother introduced us to her moral values that she, in Swedish, called “Goda och Humana regler” (Good and Human rules). When they were translated into English, I had a graphic artist create them on a scroll.”

Wilen’s grandmother, Edith Maria (Spiring) Bergholm, was born in 1889 in Helsingfors, Finland, and died there at age 96. She and her husband, Gottfried, had seven children. She was a lifelong ardent atheist.

The family story is that the rules we now call “HUG” were handed down to Edith Maria by her mother, Natalia. “My mother, Erna Maria, recalls that Natalia also would have been an atheist but likely more silent about it, as it was safer to be ‘in the closet’ in those days,” Wilen says.

“My wife Olga and I are raising our children, Gena, 14, Anastasia, 9, and Tiffany, 7, with these rules as our family moral code,” he adds.

“Our children know about various religions and refer to religious beliefs as ‘Primitive Superstitious Hocus Pocus Stories.’ They are not intimidated by indoctrination attempts by friends or their friends’ parents, while at the same time being respectful of every individual’s right to their own illusions as long as they do not proselytize.”

Furthermore, Wilen says, “Our children know that Homo sapiens has been around for some 125,000 years and started to settle by rivers some 14,000 years ago to domesticate animals and grow crops, and that these locations must have seemed like ‘paradises’ after years of hunting and gathering. If any ‘floods’ took place, it likely would have been caused by the end of a small Ice Age.

“We are all pleased to share these HUG rules with your readers.”

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