The King James Bible will celebrate its 400th birthday later this year, and to commemorate the occasion, Richard Dawkins wrote an op-ed where he praised this particular version of the Bible as literature:
Let’s celebrate the 400th anniversary of this astonishing piece of English literature. … Warts and all, let’s encourage our schools to bring this precious English heritage to all our children, whatever their background, not as history, not as science and not (oh, please not) as morality. But as literature.
I find that many nonbelievers are divided over the issue of religious literacy — you’ve got some (like me) who think it’s important to have a certain level of knowledge of religious ideology/dogma/literature in order to combat it. But there are others, I’ve found, who would just as soon discard anything having to do with religion, and think that paying *any* attention to it is the same as condoning it.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m more of the persuasion that you need to know your opponent, so I often advocate for a certain degree of religious literacy — for Christianity, that means knowing something about the Bible.
One book that I found that gives a pretty entertaining overview of the Bible is the book Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know by Timothy Beal. If you were fortunate to escape the binds (and flannelgraphs) of Sunday School growing up, this book helps to give a quick overview of some of the more important stories of the Bible — plus it also helps to give context to many of the everyday sayings we have in our culture today, that come straight from “the good book.”