But I was asking for opinions of how we should view the Bible (Such as, how do we make the distinction between literal or figurative stories or people).
My opinion would be that scripture is given for the purpose of telling us who God is, who we are, and how we relate to God. Using scripture for anything else would be a misuse in my opinion.
I think that God making man in His own image and likeness and placing him above all creation as the crowning point of His creation is more important than trying to put a literal time line on exactly how long ago God created the earth and flooded it. I think there is a tendency in groups who do this to extend that exact timeline from defining the exact moment of the beginning of time and measuring up until an exact date for the end of time is found.
Also the "need" for scriptural inerrancy comes from two sources. Islam needs literal scientific inerracy because they believe that a book, the koran, is the final revelation of God to man and not the man Jesus Christ, Who is the express image of the invisible God in Whom all things are revealed. The Protestant groups who believe in inerrancy "need" it because they believe scripture to be the sole authority on faith and practice, in order to be trusted in anything, it must be perfect in everything, which is in contrast to the traditional belief that the Church is the pillar of truth.
Something else to be taken into consideration, not necessarily universal among all Protestants but an example of what some believe. I once read in a literalist study bible in the notes for Luke chapter one, that when Christ was conceived in Mary's womb that it was done without using her egg or any other part of her as a human and that He was "placed" into her as something foreign to her. This is just plain not Christian. The study notes in my Orthodox Study Bible (granted they are just the study notes and can be imperfect) say about that passage that "the Lord Jesus took His flesh - His human nature - from Mary herself". The traditional belief found everywhere in the Church, while not even asking the question of science concerning the exact manner of "how", is that Christ took His flesh from Mary at His conception. It was through her that He received His human nature from us and truly united himself to us as a race. If Christ did not take his flesh from Mary, then He is not truly one of us and we have no way of inheriting the gift that He offers to us. Like I said, I don't think that this a universal teaching among Protestants, but it is something that can be found taught by some people who take a literal inerracny stance.