I somehow missed this when you first posted it. You are making good points. One of the problems I run into is that more biblically educated people mean something different by “literal” than do many in the pews, yet they use the word “literal.” For many people not acquainted with biblical scholarship, reading a vision “literally” means finding a physical referent for all symbols in the physical world.

So we need to watch how we use the word “literal” to be sure those hearing understand what we mean. Telling people to read the Bible literally will result in one set of errors. Telling them not to take it literally results in its own set of errors, when they hear “seriously,” “factually,” etc. as the meaning of “literally.” That’s why I think it’s important to specify how we take a passage specifically, not just that it is not literal.

And then there are passages that can be taken in more than one way …