“It is only a story.”
If we discover that some of the stories in the Bible do not correspond to history – does that really matter? If Job (which in Hebrew effectively starts, “Once upon a time in the far away land of Uz there lived a man named Job…”) historically never lived, is the message of that book any less potent? Can made-up movies not impact our lives? Can fiction not change us?
“It is merely a metaphor.”
Why is it that our culture is so agile with metaphor except when it comes to religion? When it comes to religion, our culture demands that metaphors be literally true – and then they are either mocked by the anti-theists or accepted at silly face-value by fundamentalists.
“It is just a symbol.”
Tell that to the people who argued heatedly about the NZ flag. Tell that to the person who thought the engagement ring (wedding ring) meant something.
Don’t use “just”, “merely”, and “only”, and stop other people using them.