I’m not sure what made me think of this, but it occurs to me that talking with folks who believe “every word of the Bible is literally true” I generally fail to clarify something. I think these people view my position as being now that we know so much about science and evidence we no longer believe the Bible. That is, it is a recent discovery that the world was not created in seven days. That is not what I believe. Rather, I believe that when the stories were recorded the stories weren’t intended to be scientific. I believe that the authors of the two Nativities were not trying to give us the facts of Jesus’ origin; the authors were trying to tell us something about Jesus’ ministry.
In other words, I don’t think the authors of the Bible were wrong; I just think literalists are wrong. Hmm, maybe I need to work on a more diplomatic phrasing.