What about the faith of the non-literalist believers who, at least in the United States, greatly outnumber the literalists? Few Catholics are literalists; their faith in tradition as a parallel source of revelation takes some pressure off dependence on an inerrant Bible. Official church teaching does not insist on it. Most have accepted scientific world views that do not allow for the Common Sense Realist Philosophy or other sets of propositions that undergird literalisms. Some Orthodox Jews share literalist views, but on grounds of faith and obedience foreign to the Protestant literalist schools, and most other Jews do not find literalism to be an issue at all. Most mainstream Protestants and significant numbers of evangelicals long ago adopted modes of interpretation that differ from literalism.

On what do the non-literalists then base their faith? Is a faith responsive to biblical revelation not threatened when contradictions show up between texts? What happens when archaeological discoveries fail to bear out the literary history of the Bible? The faith of non-literalists is not disconfirmed by contradiction or discovery. Most of them when interviewed or when, as scholars, they write on subject tend to converge on the notion that their faith grows in response to witness, to testimony—whether that of ancient prophets and apostles lives were changed through what they saw or experienced—or through the summons to faith of contemporaries who were similarly beckoned and enthralled by the language and action of the believing communities.