I''m going to assume reflection that you know all about the suttas were passed down from generation to generation: The oral tradition is extremely reliable. It is so reliable that we can be almost sure that much of what is presented to us in the first four nikayas is in fact what took place during that time, if not all of it. A multitude of different groups of monks dispersed to all sections of the country, and then to other countries altogether, they did not meet to recheck the consistency of their suttas. There they recited the suttas in isolation from one another, over centuries, and yet they all ended up so incredibly similar that the finished products were virtually indistinguishable. Given the size of the tipitaka, this is quite incredible, and speaks volumes about the accuracy of the method. The minor difference presented between the Singhalese and Burmese versions are as you quite rightly state small. So small that I would figure them to be immaterial when it comes to the discussion topic at hand. The Chinese Agamas make for an interesting comparison also: They contain 4 nikayas that are roughly the same in length as their pali equivalent. From what I've read of them so far generally speaking the Dhamma contained within is the same as the pali versions.
If you go to this site called suttacentral, you will see that virtually all of the suttas presented in the Agamas and also in the Tibetan, Sanskrit canons and the Gandharan texts most have parallels found in the Pali sutta pitaka. I have investigated all of the ones with English translation that do not have parallel suttas in the PT, and nothing found within was of a heretical nature, it all tied in quite nicely with the flavour of Dhamma to which I am familiar. To me this says it all.http://www.suttacentral.net/
You didn't offend me btw, and I am sorry if I was projecting, it just seemed as though you were responding to my post.
Btw I will try and hunt out a piece of writing I read on the reliability of the pali suttas and how we can trust the oral tradition to have given us a very accurate picture of what the Buddha actually said.
As for the Kalama sutta Kusala, you must remember the context in which it was given: The Kalama sutta was spoken to a bunch of people that had had many different teachers come through their village all proclaiming to know the right truth, and had destroyed the faith the Kalamas had in their previous teachers, one after another. They had been bombarded by holy men all preaching a different doctrine, whilst claiming the other teachers knew nothing. They had become very disenchanted with samanas who were passing through, so the Buddha gave them a teaching tailored to their needs that would allow them to eventually find faith in his teachings, he did not speak to many other groups the way he spoke to the Kalamas and this can be seen by the fact that the words used in the sutta are not widely repeated throughout the Sutta Pitaka.
All the same, there are people today who are in the Kalamas position, and the advice to them is as good to some modern people (particularly those arriving at Buddhism who have become disenchanted with other religions) as it was to the Kalamas. But those that think the Kalama sutta is a carte blanche for skepticism of his teachings have made an incorrect interpretation of the sutta. It is meant that one first apply the teaching to one's own life and see their veracity before
taking faith, but it is not a blank cheque to not have faith. Some faith is necessary beyond a certain point.