Is it reasonable to interpret the Bible literally?
Immediately, the many sources and subsequent translations suggest a literal interpretation is not sensible.
Should one literally believe Eve came from Adam's rib and that these two are the progenitors for all human beings? Is it sensible to ignore the countless factual flaws in the Noah's ark story? How does one reconcile the biblically derived 6,000 year old Earth with modern science?
Even if the Bible were inerrant, passages such as Matthew 18:9 would lead a faithful literalist down an ill-advised path:
Attached is a short video from BioLogos –a Christian creationist group– who are admirably attempting to explain their faith in a manner consistent with modern scientific findings. This is in stark contrast to groups who engage in spectacular contortions to distort or deny scientific findings that are inconvenient for their purposes.
The Bible is a book written by many ancient men who pre-dated science and considered Earth the center of the universe. It has been repeatedly translated for centuries by fallible (and biased) men. With so many contradictory interpretations (how many religions differ on the meaning of their common Holy Book?) a plain (literal) reading of the Bible is ill-advised.
Those who demand the Bible be viewed as the inerrant word of God –which must be taken literally– insist that the Bible cannot be cherry-picked. They (reasonably) hold that one cannot choose which portions of the Bible are to be followed and/or cleverly interpreted and also consider it to be the inerrant word of God.
In short, a plain, literal reading of the Bible is ill-advised yet a more nuanced reading (cherry-picking, enlightened interpretation) brings serious questions of credulity.
§ – Consider this an embellished seed. I did not use the seed tool because it picks up as the image the organization logo and there is no option for me to change the image (other than go with no image).