Short1, I'm interested in hearing what Armstrong has to say. I'm not personally familiar with her work, but I know of her by reputation. From what I've heard she's a well respected writer, though I don't know if she ever completed her doctoral work. I've also heard that she's a bit of a mystic in her version of religion and not so good on the subject of the Trinity, which I believe she incorrectly dates to the 4th century or so. What does she have to say about the New Testament? I apologize if I'm asking a lot of questions, but it will help us discuss the matter. Armstrong is a member of the Jesus Seminar, I'm fairly certain, and though I don't want to treat the Seminar's members as a single monolithic block that all believe the same thing, they're a pretty controversial group and not indicative of the mainstream. I don't want to attack the work of someone I've never read, but if Armstrong is presenting claims such as those of the Seminar as undisputed or representative of mainstream scholarship, then I'd be cautious reading her. For a good look at the Seminar's ideas and it's methodology, you could investigate N. T. Wright, one of the world's leading New Testament scholars and his article "Five Gospels but No Gospel." I enjoyed it.
On a different note, you mention things being "recycled." Could you be a bit more specific? I'm getting a history of religions/pagan borrowing vibe from it, but I'm not sure. As for your Old Testament questions, I'm sure someone here has likely already suggested a work like "Is God a Moral Monster" or something similar for questions of morality. Personally, I'd advise investigating the historical context of troubling passages: it's not just rationalizing away problems. Ben Witherington III is a deeply respected scholar, and though you haven't mentioned women in the Bible, I'd recommend "Jesus and the Women." It's very good and very scholarly. For Old Testament issues, you may find the work of Kenneth Kitchen interesting. Kitchen is quite possibly the most renowned Egyptologist in the world and is a reputable Biblical scholar as well. He is also quite critical of claims of borrowing or recycling of ideas in Biblical religion. I understand it's a lot of recommended reading, but one can never be too well informed on Biblical Scholarship. In fact, one can never be informed enough, in my opinion. It's an extremely complicated field of study that integrates the work of archaeology, history, theology, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, anthropology, etc. It sounds like you've begun searching for the truth after a long period of tuning out voices that disagreed with your Christian worldview. I can understand that, myself. Don't, however, let a single look around convince you that Christianity is false. There's a lot to look into, and Christian scholarship is not weak, watered-down scholarship. The works of men like Witherington, Wright, Kitchen, and numerous others are rigorously scholarly and well-researched.
As for miracles and the supernatural, I'm sure many here will have more to say than I have. The Shroud of Turin discussion has been quite lively of late, and regardless of your opinion on its authenticity, it sure makes one think. The same can be said of Near Death Experiences, which I don't really have an opinion on. There are all sorts of people out there who claim to have experienced or witnessed miracles, and whether or not you take them at their word, it seems like a big leap to dismiss all of them and claim there are no miracles without investigating further. The miracle of the resurrection stands out as a particularly good, in fact the ultimate, example of a miracle that can be believed in on quite rational grounds.
In any case, I've said enough for now. I'm new by the way. But I'll be happy, as I'm sure others will, to hear your ideas.