Should everyone read / study the bible ? I think so ! I have ! They say that " those who study parts of it become believers and that those who study all of it become atheists "
I think thats fairly accurate . I know that for me , the revelation of the old testament was that it was mostly a book about continuos tribal warfare that we just shouldnt really care much about
the main thing that I took from the new testament was that when ya consider that the 4 gospels are all virtually the same though they still manage to contradict each other ...that there really isnt much information about Jesus in the book , mostly just Paul's church-building enterprise in the name of the jesus guy and then the book of revelations is some seriously trippy shit ! The end !
I mean, if you're taking an active role in combating religion, then you should know your topic. If not, there isn't much of a point. Have you read the Qur'an and every other religious text? If I am going to read a religious text just out of curiosity, I am going to make an effort to read them all. I'm not taking an active role in combating religious texts, so I am not going to waste my time reading them. I'd rather read another fictional book, most likely a science fiction.
Whether we like or not: no other text has influenced our (Western) culture more than the Bible. Every person with some education under their belt should have read at least the book "Genesis" as well as the NT. Homer or Plato are optional, but not the core parts of the bible.
I think that everyone should have a basic grasp of Christianity and its pervasive influence on art and culture, and that includes a basic grasp of the Bible. I don't necessarily think they have to read it cover to cover or delve into theology, but they should have basic literacy on the topic. I think some serious study of comparative religions is helpful too, particularly in understanding history and the evolution of human thought.
I would recommend a few hours being spent listening to Christina Hayes' free YouTube lectures on the Hebrew Scriptures. The lectures come from Yale University, I think. When you get the jist of what's happening in the book, you can decide how detail you want to read.