To take the Bible literally from cover to cover would be a mistake no different than taking everything in the English language literally. The English language is full of colloquialisms, metaphors, synonyms, etc, etc, used to express ideas and concepts of our physical world. The Bible is no different. Anyone who would claim that the Bible is nothing but falsehood from cover to cover has not done a serious search for evidence. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to the archeological search for the people, places, and things of the Bible and much has been found. In the starting post of this thread, the old testament prophet Balam is mentioned as he is the one supposedly confronted by a talking donkey. Can it be proved that Balam existed? Absolutely, archeological documentation has been found that describes him and identifies him just as he is in the Bible. Is there evidence a donkey spoke to him? No. Can I see a talking donkey today? Yes, his name is Eeyore(sp?) and you can meet him at Disney World. A higher intelligence whether it be extraterrestrial or someone we would refer to as God could most likely create most of the scenarios described in the bible from talking serpents to talking bushes. Hell, I could create a talking bush on fire in my front yard. Could Moses? Not likely since they didn't have audio amplifiers and speakers back then. Let's not waste our time debating on whether the Bible is real or not since there is overwhelming archeological evidence that it is. As has been pointed out though, taking any ancient writing completely literally would be a mistake and that includes anything that would be used as a foundation for religion. However, don't throw it all away because there is a lot of truth contained within it. As a post script here, something I have learned in my own spiritual journey through life is that any religion that tells you you have to please God through your own effort, especially if it's a Christian religion, should be avoided. I would like to suggest that this site be dedicated to what it's title suggests. There are plenty of sites on the internet where people can debate the Bible and religion or to proselytize. To do so here is going to ruin the purpose of this site.