Quora Answer: Is Religious Literature Meant to be Taken Literally?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Is there any merit to argument that religious literature were not written to be taken literally but rather to convey messages of how to be a good human through stories?”
By religious literature, I take it you are referring to Scripture? Different scriptures have their own rules of exegesis. And by them, some portions are taken literally, some metaphorically and most, both. Proper exegesis can only be done with a mastery of the original language of the text. Translations never tell even close to the depth of the original language. And that alone is a major source of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Additionally, proper exegesis does require knowledge of the circumstances of Revelation and the historical context. Without this, the lessons drawn may be contrary to the intent of the text.