My redneck colleage, The Erudite Redneck, blog listed on this page, has initiated a great discussion on Bible literalism.
I've responded, and another scholar responded tome, and what follows is my response, as a recovering fundamentalist. Redneck gets more comments and followers than I because he's more witty and controversial.
"Great response GK-S, especially the part about words changing meanings over time--context indeed. But, to be the Devil's advocate--literally perhaps, if there is a devil, since we only know about him from Scripture and we have to beware of accepting it as literal --if I don't accept the Bible as literal, then we have just moved to the point of where we decide what to accept and not accept, which puts us in an even worse position as omniscient editors than those scribes and translators who through the ages tried to be fairly faithful to the original Greek. Let's see--let's throw our Genesis 1, but keep John 3:16. Why? So, perhaps there is not a God---if we can't take the scriptures literally."