For close to a century now, the first 'modernized fairy tale", Lyman Frank Baums The Wizard of Oz, has been the mainstay of American childrens Literature. Baums book has been regarded as the first truly American fable, a story for the youth of America. When Baum wrote his original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, he said his sole intent was "to pleasure children of today." However, his story may be interpreted in a manner that asserts that Baum intended to cast his own religious beliefs on the American youth through his fable.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new scientific discoveries established increasing conflict between religion and science. This conflict caused widespread dissatisfaction against organized religions among many people of the Western world, particularly against fundamentalist Christianity. It was during this period that Baum too began to question the many aspects of established religions. He referred to this time period as an "Age of Unfaith." As editor of his own local newspaper, Baum wrote about organized religion in 1890:
"When the priests acknowledge their fallibility; when they abolish superstition, intolerance and bigotry; when they abhor the thought of a revengeful god; when they are able to reconcile reason and religion and fear not to let the people think for themselves, then, and then only will the Church regain its old power and be able to draw to its pulpits the whole people."
Never did Baum have specific prejudices against any one religion, but he did object to the stifling effect that organized religions tend to have on their followers. Baums dissatisfaction towards organized religions led him to a more considerate perspective of other faiths. He thought that it was necessary for individuals to question their faith, not necessarily give up their faith, but in questioning it, obtain a new perspective from which to adopt a faith; Baum did exactly this.
For a while, Baum abandoned many...