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Or is continuing script execution after errors
just a bad idea when working with Lua (or in
general, despite our fairly positive experience
with it)?

depends on the app and how "safe" it is to continue after an error.

google's sawzall, which is a domain specific language used for
analyzing very large data sets, has a run-time flag that ignores all
statements using undefined values (it does keep track of such errors
in a special table that can be examined at the end of the run to see
if the result should be considered acceptable or not).  when you're
computing statistics on a terabyte of data, it's probably safe to drop
a few records due to errors.