another two cents Hi, I'm new here and happy to find this site. I'm in the midst of reading Spong's "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism", Funk (& the Jesus Seminar's) "The Five Gospels:What did Jesus Really Say?", and "Christianity without God" (!) by Lloyd Geering. I'm sure I'm leaving some books out. . . Personally, I cannot fathom taking the Bible literally. One, there are too many contradictions. Two, the Bible was written by men, not God, and what is canonical has been seriously effected by politics. Thirdly, as another person in this thread has pointed out, there are so many translations and interpretations. I could go on, but other more educated on this matter have responded and will. In my humble opinion, the Bible is a stunning piece of literature, wisdom and "written" oral history. Not taking it literally does NOT mean that it cannot be taken seriously. Reading it with an eye and ear for metaphor and within its' historical context can bring one to insight and wisdom. Not taking it literally does NOT mean there is no God. I must say that I hesitantly describe myself as atheist. However, I find that in all religions there is a core of the SAME ethical truths. As someone who has been a practicing Quaker and Buddhist, I find that when reading Jesus' teachings, I "hear" them more as koans. There is a universal beauty and truth at the heart of all religious texts.