On Theology and taking the Bible "Literally":
I got into a bit of a theological debate with some Christian friends recently about how to take the bible as truth, and what's amusing is that I've had nearly the same debate with Atheist friends - both sides making the exact same point, but the Christians to say that certain theories of modern science must be wrong, the Atheists to say that the bible must be wrong. In both cases, I think that my debaters are making what I perceive as a common mistake of misunderstanding truth, and especially "literal" truth.
The particular passage in question that seems most debated in this aspect is the creation saga of Genesis 1, the whole in-the-beginning schtick, all the way through to the 7th day where God rests. One of the very first things I notice about the passage is that it's a poem, meter and everything, and here's where the "literal" part comes into play. If we read the passage as being poetically true - where words and phrases are analogies rather than their most strict definition, then "day" starts to mean something like "period" or "epoch" - and "Let there be light" is suddenly a fantastically close description of the Big Bang. As a poem, it's "true" without being "literally" true. It's poetically true, and expecting it to be more than that is actually a bit silly. If I say "my love for my wife is as deep as the ocean", are you expecting to go out and measure it? And are you going to account for the fact that the oceans have changed depth over the ages? Heck, even the exact definition of "day" fluctuates, as things like the Japanese Tsunami change the speed at which the earth rotates.
But I want to point out that we can take even one more step back: the very idea of how we take something literally wasn't around for a fair amount of the bible - (or actually a lot of historical texts, not just the bible). Taking something literally means trying to apply Greek rules and formalisms about logic and structure to a piece of text. I suppose this is less of a problem to Atheists ("the bible can't be taken literally so it must not be true" - but I was saying it can't be true anyway) than Christians - but any notion that you should try to take the bible as scientifically literally true gets thrown out by the very next chapter. If you read Genesis 1 literally, God creates the animals, and then man. If you read Genesis 2 literally, God creates man, and then the animals. So now you're in the awkward position of having to explain why one passage should be taken following Greek rules of scientific logic and the other should not. The answer is you shouldn't have tried to do that with either passage in the first place.
When you read any text, religious or not, figure out the literary vehicle being used in the text, and apply the rules of that style to what you get out of the text.