There's no evidence that the Garden of Eden was always regarded as figurative? Really? Has Coyne read the fucking thing? I defy anyone with a brain (or who hasn;t had his brain turned off by fundamentalism) to think it's meant literally. It's obviously meant metaphorically. It screams parable.Hey, man, I agree. Don't take the Garden of Eden story literally. It's a metaphor. It's a parable. It didn't happen.
But then again, I'm an atheist and those beliefs are consistent with atheism. They are not, however, consistent with large swaths of Christian belief, which insist on a literal interpretation of scripture. Eve did bite the apple, Noah did survive the flood, Moses did part the Red Sea, etc.
Now there are some enlightened Christians who don't believe that stuff, but surely they believe in some of the most fantastic stuff in the Christ story, especially since without the miracles or the resurrection, Jesus would be just another rabbi from Nazareth.
Read Sullivan's blog on Sundays and you can see him swooning in the reality of the Christ myth, which I would expect most religious people to do on a Sunday.
I just don't expect them to argue on Wednesday to start calling the whole enterprise a "metaphor."
Who worships a metaphor? Christians don't.