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Ecumenical Translation of the Great Religions


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It is no surprise to anyone that the convening of all great religious sects occurred right after the butlerian jihad. The stinking froth of religious fervor reached a new level in the hind brains of all those who were the devoted masses. Though many of them had excited this taint, it no doubt still must have stung the nostrils of all those who were the closet shepherds. They had much on their plate, and like the ancient Empire of Madrid thousands of years ago, they had to do something with their darling conquistadors. Unfortunately they could not just send them off on further crusades for fortune and divine glory.

We need to form a new touchstone on which every religion can be made unified. How do we package this concept?

The formative years for spirituality during and after the Great Pan-Religious Ecumenical Councils must have been a great time for learning. Sadness and jubilation would have come face to face in a relative twinkling of an eye. As always, the idealists are used by the pragmatists in order to fight off apathy and cynicism. Most of this counsel must have seen the horrors of the religious sword, and wanted a new pact with the Divine, a new standard by which all of the religious leaning could follow. Most of the great religions were still interstellar in scope, moth eaten and unkempt.

It was the job of these religious idealists to help mold a new idol for the masses to worship. While all the while those secret puppeteers would keep their unsleeping eye focused on it's growth.

The C.E.T. was instituted as a canned reformation to curb religious fanaticism. Those in power did what they always do. They try to manage the unmanageable, to keep in control what can only be controlled for the length of only a few hundred human generations.

I find it interesting that Frank saw that religion is a constant. The state cannot take it's place, no man can take it's place, because religion is always trying to find the transcendental. It cannot be destroyed, and in the dune universe, those in the highest orders of power have realized this. If the people need an outlet for their superstition, then those in power must curb and control that outlet at it's source.

what do you guys think about the C.E.T. and the butlerian jihad? Anybody interested in it?

Ill try to go a little more in depth with this post, and cut to the core some of the stuff I am interested in with this concept.

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The Zensunni (this includes the Bene Tleilax as well) were strongly influenced by the C.E.T. and I believe the zensunni were involved. The Bene Gesserit are an enigma altogether. Their exterior beliefs are somewhat of a sham, while the firm grasp in the tradition of their order holds many metaphysical concepts. I would exclude the bene gesserit as being a religious fringe group, and actually say that they were apart of the puppeteering right after the C.E.T. with other sects and people such as the Spacing Guild.

The Jews are indeed one of the few groups to maintain their identity. I dont doubt that there are other small groups and orders as well who have held on to the past to a greater or lesser extent.

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There were Christians afterwards as well, though not the same as we have today. There are references to three different types of Christianity in the original Dune novels. But just think about how much Christianity has changed in the last 100 years. It would probably change a lot in 15.000 years.

As for the jews, they have probably changed to a lesser extent in the last 100 years. or even in 2000 years.

Are there any references to Islam in the original books? Zensunni is probably a branch of Islam, or?

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I didn't realize that they were mentioned in the original books, but you ar right dunenewt:

The so-called Ancient Teachings -- including those preserved by the

Zensunni Wanderers from the first, second, and third Islamic movements; the

Navachristianity of Chusuk, the Buddislamic Variants of the types dominant at

Lankiveil and Sikun, the Blend Books of the Mahayana Lankavatara, the Zen

Hekiganshu of III Delta Pavonis, the Tawrah and Talmudic Zabur surviving on

Salusa Secundus, the pervasive Obeah Ritual, the Muadh Quran with its pure Ilm

and Fiqh preserved among the pundi rice farmers of Caladan, the Hindu

outcroppings found all through the universe in little pockets of insulated

pyons, and finally, the Butlerian Jihad.

This quote is also quite interesting:

There is a fifth force which shaped religious belief, but its effect is so

universal and profound that it deserves to stand alone.

This is, of course, space travel

It is very difficult to predict how space travel could affect religions, but you could look back 500 years and see how traveling over the atlantic ocean did it. I guess that would somewhat be the same effect.

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  • 1 month later...

It must be observed that no revolution occurs within a vacuum. Was the jihad against thinking machines really fought purely for religious reasons? could the masquerade of the C.E.T. be a clue to us? It seems that certain growing powers saw their interests could not exist with wide spread dependence on thinking machines and the small minority of their cold agnostic masters. Maybe the Jihad was not so much a war of liberation, but a war for the reallocation of power.

If this is the case, it would fit perfectly with the notion that the C.E.T. served a duel purpose. As a unifier, it brought the masses under the banner of a unified group of religious concepts, with the religion being steered by the social-political powers and their middle men. As a pacifier it tranquilized the belly-fire of the billions who had been called through their religious fervor to murder.

Ill write more on these ideas later.

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Remember that a generation or two or three after the Jihad there were religious riots across the Thirteen Thousand Worlds that killed millions, and that preventing that sort of thing was the nominal reason for convening the C.E.T. ;)

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Yep. On a "neutral island of Old Earth"...one not inhabited by a large number of the followers of any of the religious groups involved in the post-Jihad pogroms and riots.

One of the Hawaiian Islands, actually. ;)

(Read the Dune religion appendix...it's really quite obvious that FH meant Hawai'i. IIRC they had a house there...at one time.)

I can't wait to see how Ole Fuzzy Head and The Hiker worm their way out of this one.

After all...Earth is a nuclear slag pile, right? :D

(Oh...I know...the entire biosphere SENSED the attack coming and buried itself deep underground, like the sandworms of Arrakis before the HM attack! No! No! I got it! NORMA SUBSTITUTED A COPY EARTH for the League ships to bomb! Yeah! That's it!)

(Which would be another case of Kevin lifting an idea from Dan Simmons.)

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The point, though, is that it's neutral with regard to the religious factions...neutral on the surface of the Earth...which therefore much be fairly heavily inhabited.

By a bunch of mutants, if you accept the K&B version.

(And it can't be a partial terraform job done just for the CET. Think of the infrastructure needed to host a gathering of the size of the CET. Nah, it don't work.)

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... the kevin and brian concepts to the history of the dune universe is well, hell I dont even need to say it, ive ranted enough on the topic as is. from the DE, it mentioned that the location for the counsel was as chigger said on a neutral island.

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from the DE, it mentioned that the location for the counsel was as chigger said on a neutral island.

I've just been looking through my DE (both the real book and the (admittedly faulty) PDF scan) and I can't find any mention of the location. Where did you see it, TMA-1?

I've always gone on this, from the Dune "Religion Appendix":

Out of those first ecumenical meetings came two major developments:

1. The realization that all religions had at least one common commandment: "Thou shall not disfigure the soul."

2. The Commission of Ecumenical Translators.

C.E.T. convened on a neutral island of Old Earth, spawning ground of the mother religions.

I concluded that that "neutral island" is a Hawaiian one based on this, from the same:

Troubadours composed witty, biting songs about the one hundred and twenty-one "Old Cranks" as the C.E.T. delegates came to be called. (The name arose from a ribald joke which played on the C.E.T. initials and called the delegates "Cranks-Effing-Turners.") One of the songs, "Brown Repose," has undergone periodic revival and is popular even today:

"Consider leis.

Brown repose

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I disagree, how can you say that it is hawaii?

spawning ground of mother relgions? wouldn't that be middle east or something?

Those of you who are at all familiar with me will appreciate the restraint with which I will now reply.

Read once more what Frank Herbert wrote about the location; I've added some explanatory text in the square brackets:

C.E.T. convened on a [religion-]neutral island of Old Earth, [the planet which was the] spawning ground of the mother religions.

1. He writes "on an island."

2. The phrase "spawning ground of the mother religions" is a reduced relative clause which modifies "Old Earth". FH was talking about the planet, not the island location of the C.E.T. The whole point of "neutral" is that the location is NOT associated or aligned with any of the religious groups involved. The Middle East hardly fits that description, don't you think?

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uh, familiar with you? you've only posted 68 posts here  ::)

So you don't think that there are any islands in the middle east? Besides it could be be a peninsula or something...

Yeah I guess you are right about him meaning Earth, but I just thought that somewhere in the middle east could be that location on earth ;) neutral is another matter :P but it could have been neutral at that time...

What I mean by this is that you cannot be that sure it is Hawaii. It could be another island  ;)

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uh, familiar with you? you've only posted 68 posts here  ::)

So you don't think that there are any islands in the middle east? Besides it could be be a peninsula or something...

Yeah I guess you are right about him meaning Earth, but I just thought that somewhere in the middle east could be that location on earth ;) neutral is another matter :P but it could have been neutral at that time...

What I mean by this is that you cannot be that sure it is Hawaii. It could be another island  ;)

No, I can't be <b>sure</b> that it is Hawaii. I'm offering a best guess based on the text of the "Religion Appendix". (Plus some extra-textual information: I believe the Herberts had a summer home or for a time owned a house or bungalow in Hawaii, so the islands may have had some significance for FH?)

I don't see you offering anything more than you "just thought" it might be elsewhere.

Islands in the Middle East? You don't say? Why, I thought it was nothing but sand and bomb craters!

And it wouldn't be an "almost island", either. Island means island; the language hasn't changed that much in 40 years. But I'm sure that The Hiking Hack and the Hungover Prodigal will try to twist the story (Historians and folklore do distort things so, no? That how a bridge becomes a fleet of spaceships around a planet that never existed) to get around the fact that they sterilized the planet in their "Legends" fanfic. (In fact, I believe it was Kevin's special Toronto friend who suggested on the DuneNovels BBS that island might refer to the Moon or an orbital platform. Worked for a bridge, so why not an island?!)

Did I miss anything? Neutral? That's clear enough I should think. IF you read the text.

(I'm not an old-timer here. But I fancied that a few of you might know me from elsewhere.)

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I was just stating that it doesn't necessarily have to be one of those islands.

Yes. And I'm just questioning the point of such a statement in the absence of any attempt on your part to explain the relevance of the allusions in the quoted song, which I at least tried with my hypothesis.

I have never heard or read any mention of the people in the Middle East, for example, making or wearing leis. That's a Polynesian custom. Or of the Arabs having had anything to do with the British Lord Sandwich. (According to Wikipedia, one John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, one of Captain Cook's sponsors. James Cook ... heard of him? ... who named the Hawaiian Islands the <b>Sandwich Islands</b>.) True, Arabs do seem to be darker in skin pigmentation than I am (and I assume you are), but given the leis and the island references, "brown repose" sounds more to me like someone tanning on the beach, for example.

So...really, what's your objection here? I haven't ascertained yet whether you are a fan of the new books, but is that the problem, distress that the Fantastic Fanficking Friends have gotten <b>yet another</b> detail wrong?

Please enlighten me, because at this point I am rather confused. It's not like I'm going to bite you or anything, you know.

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