I don’t understand the argument that everything in the Bible should be taken literally. I see that argument used to support many ideas that lots of people have. I don’t hear it used to support ideas that few people have and that have become unmentionable, from burning adulterous women to having slaves to the difficulty of rich people getting to heaven, as Jesus is supposed to have said. I see people who claim to take the Bible literally adopting very different stances toward passages which fit their social ideology from other passages which contradict their economic self-interest.
The Bible is a sprawling document full of contradictions. So-called literalists choose which passages they want to take literally on the basis of principles which are very modern, far from the ideas and attitudes of Jews and Christians thousands of years ago.
— Steve Hochstadt, “Commentary: Can the Bible be taken literally?”