I would appreciate it if you actually read my posts before commenting on them. I have added below, for you, some of what I wrote.
I would appreciate if you afforded yourself the same courtesy. If all you really wrote was that "metaphorical interpretations provide a convenient excuse for modern christians when they need them" then that claim would have been fine. Rather, you personally accused Mooby of seeking out such an excuse for that very reason without any evidence to support your accusation.
If you want to pretend you wrote something different, that's fine I guess. Do you. If you did mean something different, then you shouldn't blame others when you fail to express yourself clearly.
As for this:
Added note: As it became integrated in to the Roman Empire, Christianity developed different levels of interpretation for the text, literal and metaphorical, which could be written together on the same page, for the whole bible not just the creation story. The creation story is not a special case of metaphorical interpretation, it is just a convenient excuse for modern christians who compromise with modern knowledge on the creation story.
Is this really even true, though? As far as I can tell Christians and Jews have long argued for varying levels of interpretation, long before Christianity being adopted by the Roman Empire, anyway. Origen, for example, wrote over a hundred years before that. And Philo espoused allegorical views of scripture a few hundred years before that. Furthermore, there's all sorts of interesting schools of thought that went on in the early Church and in the intertestamental period before that. My favorite example, Marcion, actually believed that Jesus was the son of a different god than the god of the Old Testament.
Furthermore, the creation accounts aren't the only stories that are believed by many Christians and Jews to be figurative. For example, Christians that claim that there are prophecies that anticipate the coming of Christ can't do so without arguing for an interpretation of a given passage that is separate from its original context and often its plain reading.
And on a side note, I think that nogodsforme brings up a great point with respect to lay interpretations. I'd wager that many if not most lay people throughout the history of the Abrahamic religions thought that Adam, Eve and sometimes Lilith were real people. However, for most of our history most people were also illiterate and isolated. Now any idiot with a computer, for example me, can make his or her writing accessible to the rest of the world.
Why did the compilers of the NT not harmonize the miracles of Jesus in the gospels if they were supposed to be taken literally as miracles, rather than as the literary device of illustrations through action?
For a lot of reasons, I'd say probably not. But I obviously don't know. Here's how I look at it. There are some details about Jesus' life like his crucifixion and honorable burial and the empty tomb that almost all Christians seem to have believed to have been literally true. But even that can get kind of sketchy if you sit down and think about it. For example, there are people here that argue that there was no historical Jesus. What then would we make of the author's possible intentions if that were the case?
As for what I think actually happened, I'd say it's a bit murky. We don't know who wrote the Gospels. They're only attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John based on tradition. But we do know that people had no problem editing the Gospels to their liking. Matthew and Luke even use Mark (and probably Q) as a source. And then there are the interpolations. In John, for example, there's the story of the woman taken in adultery. This was inserted in the text and doesn't appear in the earliest manuscripts. It's no wonder then that Revelations 22:18 warns against potential edits on the penalty of damnation. So anyway, do I think that the communities that were doing this with the text were attempting to create something that was literally true? Probably not. I think that they thought that what they were writing was true as far as it goes though.
Also, with respect to contradictions in the Gospels, it's important to remember that each Gospel tradition was associated with different factions of early Christians. It's actually not unlike some of the theories about the editing of the Hebrew Bible, with Genesis 1 representing the newer priestly source and Genesis 2 representing an earlier Yahwehist tradition.
Also also, I liked the post you dug up from DTE but really I think that the only passage that I found to be absolutely persuasive is 1 Peter 3:18-20. The genealogies contradict each other and really, the point there is mostly that Jesus belongs to David's line. Similarly, they can't agree on why he was born in Bethlehem but it was important to them that he was born there because that's where they thought the Messiah should be from. And I think that Mooby is basically right in that it's not all that uncommon to use mythical or fictional but familiar characters to make a point. For example, a quick google search yielded this:http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-25058575
We can make literary allusions without claiming that the stories we're alluding to are literally true. Also, on a literary level I think that the movement from the primordial waters to the windows of heaven opening to flood the earth to the fire that the heathenly heathens are going to burn in just works for me. Still, the easiest way to read Peter claiming that Jesus ministered to those that died in the flood is to presume that he believed that there was an actual flood that people died in.