I like the idea of exploring the rise and fall of a messiah and how his life and teachings become twisted by his followers. I'm sure this sort of tale has been told before but Dune is the first time I encountered it.
The oldest version of this story that I know of is in a book called the "New Testament." The tale is STILL being twisted by its adherents, 2000 years after its 1st edition. FWIW, I still prefer the Dune stories, though I can't say I am much of a follower there either.
Can any of us imagine a Holy book being delivered two thousand years ago that babbled about relativity, the Higg"s Boson or multi dimensional universes?
I can. True, no one would have a clue as to what it meant at the time, but if the bible stated (as YouTube user FA quipped:)
"Verily, I say unto thee, that thine energy is as thine mass times the speed of light multiplied unto itself."
I'd much rather that Moses (or Aaron, whatever,) gave us the "Book of Circles" which contained 3.14159....... out to one million places. Or e. Or Newtonian physics. ANYTHING of that sort, that had nothing prior like it yet could be later shown to be (close enough to) correct and pragmatically useful would instill some faith in me.
A biblical reference to the "four corners of the earth" doesn't mean that the earth literally has four corners (i.e. it's flat). A biblical reference to God making man in his own image doesn't mean that the god they worship literally looks like we do.
Generally, yes it does - see the previous issues with Gaileo, Darwin, etc. Literal interpretation is THE biggest issue for religious thought. When you start to question "holy" scripture (7 days, four corners, Adam/Eve in god's image, flood, etc.,) you open the possibility that the OTHER stuff might also not be literal.
Well, what stuff is that and who gets to decide? Perhaps "son of god" and "saviour of all mankind" isn't literal anymore. Nor is "god's kindom" or "hell" or
(which I'm fine with. I think it all to be spiritual snake-oil.)
"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.