Just the fact that people oppose something they know little about is interesting. Maybe even more is that without knowing what is even says outside a few sentences many have strong opinion about it and are convinced that it is nothing... I agree that the question is valid but even more so when the person seeking an answer really wants an answer, in other words if you ask enough times, one has a better chance of getting the answer they want or one that is easy to disagree with, or agree for that matter.
The problem with looking at the subject from a social point is that it's view is driven by popularity or at least by the ones who are in the stream of society who can persuade the mainstream and often that view is outside the reality of what it really says. The real answer is usually not mainstream or even close to it, so trying to answer simple questions often leads to more questions due to people looking at subjects from popular opinion or "what they have been told or believe". My favorite is "but my preacher told me"....reminds me of the leaders of Jesus day as he often started with "you heard that it was said"...he said that because main stream religious leaders quote men as the authority.
As far as what is meant to be taken literally and what is meant to be metaphor, that is challenging at times. There are several factors and I would like to address that soon, but time escapes me tonight.