The Bible can be seen as a piece of literature. And like most pieces of literature, it can have flaws and inaccuracies. And since this literature was written thousands of years ago, before the enlightenment and the scientific method, those flaws and inaccuracies should be expected.
The Bible can also be seen as the way humans had a grip on reality, and the way they explained the questions of the universe to themselves. What happens after people die? How did the universe begin? What is the meaning in life? These questions are hard to accurately answer without the use of the scientific method, so it’s no surprise ancient civilizations used fictional gods to do it, even going all the way back to the Greeks, who had their system of gods. But now that we have an exact way to answer the questions of life, we don’t need 2,000 year old mythology to answer those questions anymore.
When looking at verses like 1 Peter 3:11, one might see morality, and inspiration coming from the Bible, but when looking at verses like Leviticus 20:13, or 1 Timothy 2:11–14, one might see the sense of morality human civilizations had, say, 2,000 years ago.
Your idea of students being exposed to the Bible and distinguishing the good from the bad is a fantastic one. Far too often, when a Bible class is taught, they are shown the good, and taught that the bad somehow makes sense in proper context (even though it is still bad in context). My ideal religions class would examine the major religions of the world, past and present, look at their similarities, their differences, their moralities, their inconsistencies, and their answers to the questions of life, but to view those answers as a historical record of human belief, unlike the ones found through experimentation, testing, and expansion of knowledge about our world. If critical thinking were to be put on the Bible as you are suggesting, I feel that we’d make great progress as a species.
If you’re considering becoming at atheist, read the Bible from cover to cover. No study guides, no spins, just read it. Sometime between when God tells Abraham to kill his son and when Jesus tells everyone to put him before their families, you’ll be an atheist. — Penn Jillette
(disclaimer: I’m an atheist)
Side note: most responses on Medium are total trash, and I really appreciate it when I get to see a good, well-thought-out response. Thank you so much for your valid, constructive criticism.