Just the other day I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on my local public radio station, WOUB FM. The guest that day was Bart Ehrman, the chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at one of my many almae matres, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among other things, he discussed his study of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament--a subject that is near and dear to my own heart, having studied much the same thing when I was a graduate student there in Classics.
He mentioned that when he began his studies he was something of a Bible-believin' Christian, for whom the factual accuracy, in particular, of the Scriptural texts was very important. As he studied the Greek manuscripts, however, he found out what many of us already knew: virtually no two of them are alike, and none of them is older than about the second or third century. (There are some papyrus scraps that are earlier, but no significant texts until quite late.) From his studies he drew an interesting inference: what we have in the New Testament does not capture the real, historical Jesus. This may have been the beginning of his falling-away from the Bible-based faith to which he once subscribed. Whether he is now a Christian of any sort is, I suppose, not something about which the rest of us can legitimately speculate.
There are so many scholars who fall into this category that it's not really worth commenting on when one discovers yet another, but this particular case does illustrate something that seems to me to be rather interesting: the direction of the inference from textual "integrity" to doctrinal surety is backwards. This is what happens when you start off from a sola scriptura point of view, after all: you put all your eggs into the textual basket, and when that basket turns out to be made of very loosely woven straw, everything falls apart all at once, and all of your eggs are broken. If you think of the New Testament texts in the proper way, however, as documents of the teaching Church, then this will not happen, because the authority for what you believe derives not from the putative authority of these texts alone, but from the authority that these texts have by virtue of having been produced by the real source of authority, the Magisterium.
Having been raised an atheist, I was never particularly tempted by the fundamentalist approach to Scriptural texts. By the time I began graduate school in classics, I was beginning to get interested in religion, but I was still a long way from thinking of the texts of Scripture as the sole source of authority in the religion. For me, the possibility that certain texts in the New Testament might be difficult to reconcile with each other was never a stumbling block to accepting the fundamental message of the Church. It doesn't strike me as any different from the texts of Plato: if it weren't for the dialogues of Plato, a single play of Aristophanes, a couple of texts from Xenophon, and a few other sources, we would have no reason to believe that there was ever such a person as Socrates. The dialogues of Plato, in particular, suggest that Socrates is just a name that Plato invented, and it would not be all that difficult to come away thinking that "Socrates" was just a placeholder in antiquity for some paradigmatic wisdom figure. But I don't know of any scholars who suggest any such thing: they all agree that Socrates was a real, historical figure, and they even agree that he was a philosopher who engaged in most of the activities that Plato and Xenophon describe him as engaging in.
But of course, few deny that Jesus was a real person, or that he was a teacher of some kind. What they dispute is the content of his teaching and, of course, the (historical) veracity of his "miracles". Folks also argue about the teachings of Socrates--many believe that most of what Plato wrote about Socrates reflects his own, rather than Socrates', philosophical views, or that they don't reflect anybody's views in particular, they're just views being put forward for discussion. There is, indeed, a danger in taking any ancient text too literally, or assuming too much about what its intentions and audience are. The more one knows about ancient texts, the less troubled one is going to be by textual problems in the New Testament.
If you're a fundamentalist, it's possible that, for you, the whole basket will unweave itself, and you will lose your faith (unless you're one of those weirdos who bend over backwards trying to show how everything comes out right in the end--arguing, for example, that the accounts of the Last Supper in John really can be harmonized with those in the Synoptics, if we just understand these words this way, those words this other way, etc.). If you're a Catholic, however, you will find that the doctrinal consistency of the Magisterium trumps these worries. Since the Magisterium produced the New Testament texts, but produced them within different cultures, different times and places, for different audiences, one is not surprised to find different emphases, different accounts, and different sorts of elaborations on the same, unified and consistent theme. You really can gain a world of expertise in textual exegesis and not lose your immortal soul.