I’m always concerned this topic will come up when I’m having a discussion (i.e. argument) with an atheist, and I would like to have guidance as to how I should go about it. My apologies if I inadvertently say anything offensive or sacrilegious; that’s not my intent.
Can a person be selective in how he/she goes about understanding the Bible? For example: In the New Testament, Christ is attributed to turning water to wine at the Wedding at Cana. In the Old Testament, Noah was tasked by God to take a pair (male and female) of every species of animal on Earth into a single ark, in order to survive an impending global flood. Do I have to literally believe Noah managed to save every known type of creature on the planet? Even if I don’t, how would a symbolic reading of the event be much of an improvement? I don’t think it does much good to imply that Christ symbolically turned water to wine.
Father James Barron offered one way of going about interpreting the Bible, although it doesn’t check off all of the problems I personally have: