“Wizard of Oz” and the Indians

The Oneida tribe has been leading the charge against the Washington Redskins’ name.  But now that tribe is itself caught in a controversy over its plans to open a casino in Chittenango, N.Y.  That was the home of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.   Plans for the casino, to be named “Yellow Brick Road,” would honor the local author.  But it turns out, Baum, as a newspaper writer in 1890, advocated the extermination of all Indians, including, presumably, the Oneida. [Read more…]

What else Turing did

The movie The Imitation Game focused on how mathematician Alan Turing broke the German “Enigma” code, a major contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.   Those interested in artificial intelligence talk about the “Turing test,” the goal of making it impossible to tell whether a machine or a human being is responding to questions.  But  Turing’s most enduring contribution is not known so much.  He wrote a paper about 0’s and 1’s and computable numbers that basically invented the concept of software. [Read more…]

Lent and Ash Wednesday are NOT pagan relics (a rerun)

Time to rerun a post from last year:

Pastor Joseph Abrahamson dismantles the myth that Lent and its practices have pagan origins. An excerpt from his longer post on the subject:

The ancient Church chose to keep a fast during the forty days before Passover/Easter to focus on repentance and the gift of the Resurrection at Easter. St. Athanasius, who led at the Council of Nicea to defeat Arianism—a denial of Christ being truly God and man in one person—was a bishop in Alexandria, Egypt. He wrote annual Festival letters to the Church as they prepared to celebrate Easter. In the year 331 he wrote in order to encourage his congregations in Egypt to keep the Lenten fast for 40 days. Athanasius directs the readers to many Scriptural examples and exhortations to moderation, self-control, and fasting for repentance. Athanasius gives several Bible examples of the 40 day fast, especially of Christ’s 40 day fast, after which Athanasius wrote: [Read more…]

The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Protestants

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, like Islam today, has been used to justify violence, mentioning particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition, historical episodes that are always being brought up against Christians.  It’s kind of strange, though, for us heirs of the Reformation to be blamed for those particular incidents. [Read more…]

Is Christianity morally equivalent to radical Islam?

At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama asserted the moral equivalence of Christianity and radical Islam.  Read what he said after the jump and consider:  Though Christianity too has violence in its history, what is wrong with what he says? [Read more…]

Writings of Jews in the Babylonian exile

Archaeologists have discovered and translated a trove of tablets from Iraq that were written by Jews exiled in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.  [Read more…]