We will never know if any the happenings described in the section called "The New Testament" of the book now commonly called "The Bible" have really happened in real life or not. There simply are no other sources than the Bible to lean on in verifying their existence. On the other hand, the New Testament should always be approached with great caution as some kind of evidence in these matters.
This book was written by people who just wanted to prove with the aid of this book the extraordinary capabilities and supernatural powers of the hero of their faith. This book is in similar class as evidence as would be a book written by the associates of Uri Geller would be about his career.
However, when anything else fails, the defenders of the Biblical truth can always turn the Biblical stories into metaphors. A metaphor is a thing that can never be shown to be true or false. Anybody can create any metaphors they like and also interpret them at will.
This metaphorization of the Bible has been going on for a long time most of all in the modern Lutheran western state churches. With the advent of science especially the Biblical stories of the Old Testament were shown to be just what they originally were: big stories told by the campfire to pass the long night away. Something just had to be done and metaphorization was the answer.
Many of the modern Christian churches have taken to speaking of biblical stories as metaphors of different things. This process was born out of necessity. This simply is the only way to keep this dusty old book still in the game. It soon become claer that the interpretation of the nature of universe that was presented in old this book was proven to be completely false without any degree of uncertainty.
We should remember that, in surprisingly recent times, even the now so liberal western state churches preached about the Absolute and Final Truth embedded in this book. This is true even if the liberal clerics are not so fond of remembering those bygone ugly days anymore.
This rising metaphorization is to my mind absolutely progress to a right direction, as Absolute and Final truths are always a problem in a society. This is especially true if these old texts are still interpreted as directives on how we should arrange our societies, our families and our lives.
The problem is intensified by the fact that this holy book of the Christians was born and written in a society that was so strikingly different than ours. Dragging the laws and morals of the long bygone herder and farmer-society into our modern society is a sure way to create problems.
This process of metaphorization is, in fact, a valuable aid in finally pushing these age-old and quite worn-out beliefs to the margins of society. When this old book is not seen as containing literal absolute truth it can be evaluated as a child of its own times. Then it is finally possible to see what lessons there really might to be learned from its teachings This new interpretation was done in a wildly different modern society.
This process does not affect at all the ability of the churches to offer comfort and support to people struggling in their lives.
So, if the Christian churches do really exist to aid people, as they universally claim, they will lose very little in this process of metaphorization. However, society as a whole can benefit from this process ecwen greatly, when at least the most outdated ideas born in ancient herder-societies can be finally laid to rest.
(This piece was completely rewritten on 6th of June, 2012)