Those of you who know me will know that I am a "devout" atheist. I condemn all religion for its blatant hypocrisy, social control mechanisms and brainwashing.
I felt however, in the interest of fairness I should attempt to read all the holy books in their entirety in order to more accurately assess why people feel the need to resort to religion. I started by reading the bible, and will post an evaluation of each book as I complete them. I am reading the bible in the "suggested 52 week reading order" as illustrated in the King James version of the bible (though I do not intend it to take me 52 weeks to complete).
One of my main problems with Genesis, is a problem I have had with it for some time from when I first read parts of the bible. That is that God created Adam and Eve as the first humans, who had 2 sons, Cain and Able. Now out of no where two wives seem to appear for Cain and Able. Initially I thought this might be some neat side stepping by the author to avoid the issue of incest, however as this occurs later on in Genesis anyway, and is not condemned I approached the problem slightly differently.
In Genesis 1:24-31 God creates animals and man, it then goes to detail the creation of the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in the garden of Eden. Now the only way I can solve this problem logically is to say that Adam and Eve were essentially "test runs" at the beginning of the 6th day, and he then went on to create further people outside of the garden who Cain and Able then run into at a later date.
So that problem put aside the main thing that I drew from Genesis was the spiteful, petty, unjust nature of Yahweh (God of the old testament). For example in Genesis 12:10-20 Abraham and his wife enter Egypt and for fear of being killed Abraham tells the pharaoh that his wife is his sister. As a result the pharaoh takes his wife and marries her. As a result of this deception on Abraham's part, the pharaoh is punished with plagues.
Another example comes in Genesis 11:1-9 where Yahweh deliberately hinders the progress of man by creating the concept of multiple languages, to stop people understanding each other and thus achieving their full potential.
Several areas of Genesis were essentially just lineages of the primary characters, and held little interest for me as the vast majority of people were of no importance. The whole book, however is riddled with deceit and manipulation ranging from daughters getting their father drunk in order to sleep with him, dressing up to steal a brother's blessing and passing off one daughter as another.
One of the most common messages in Christianity is illustrated in the story of Joseph, which illustrated the concept of "all things happen for a reason" and "God has a plan for everyone", though even this story involves people being framed for crimes they did not commit, both by family and trusted associates. Morality in Genesis seems to be a far cry from what most Christians claim to adhere to, and I imagine will be corrected later in the new testament.
Ultimately Genesis will always be remembered for two things. God creating the earth Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (a single line which apparently disproves evolution to most Christians) and for the genocide (actually that isn't the right word), planetacide of the earth with the great flood and Noah's Ark (I won't even start on the logistics of this, but we can assume some kind of quantum effect was in place).
My next stop according to the recommended reading order will be Matthew, the first book of the new testament.