"God is a plagarist". Therefore: ___ (Fill in the blank.)
After researching the exact nature of this 'plagarism', is the conclusion reasonable? Is your conclusion that God does not exist/the Bible is only borrowed mythology from a mythical god? Or that there were shared stories from before Abraham? That sometimes God's truths are recognized in other cultures/stories, and bringing them into the Bible reaffirms them? Sometimes conclusions go too far, I think.
I have been long aware of certain forms and ideas in the OT are brought in from the culture of the patriarchs and those prior to them. But where, in turn, did their prior ideas come from? Enoch? Seth? "Man & Woman #1" of the area? No one ever has lived in a cultural vaccum, neither Abraham nor his own ancestors; not Jesus, not Paul, and certainly not you nor I.
Biblical characters all got their paradigms shifted; why wouldn’t we?
The deeper truth I have seen here is this: the message God has for people is not diminished by culture, but shows a gracious respect and tolerance for our cultural excesses and limitations. He works within our milieus, whatever they are. He bends down to speak with children with the ways they understand, while revealing Himself even more to them (and us). This is quite gracious of God! He is a God of camels as well as computers and current scholars.
Therefore, I find it a easier in general to be patient with people who think quite differently than I do--whether agnostic, pagan, or born agains (like myself).
But complicating this issue is the fact that there is, I believe, such a thing as "intellectual sin". It is the irrational stubbornness that affects us ALL. The entrenchment you (Little Toe) speak of. None of us has arrived at that final destination, so all of us are prone to be challenged.
Personally, I do not find questioning the Bible/my beliefs frightening. I can’t help but love God; I sense Him near me and with me, and affirming that at the end of every 'quest' I will adore Him more fully. When there are times that Jesus seems to have been "killed and buried", and there is a period of uncertainty. But I wait until the ‘3rd day’... and the outcome is resurrection. I expect this process now, in even more unusual ways. God is still God.
Lastly, an analogy: sometimes an explosion, which appears from the distance to be a bomb effectively bringing down an entire building, is merely a cleanup crew doing some sandblasting. The building itself still stands--and is getting a facelift to boot! If sandblasting were to bring down the whole building--it was certainly never a safe place in the first place!
I've seen different changes thru the years, but my faith in God has only grown, not collapsed, and this is what helps me to look at any serious challenge or objection. The explosions I hear haven't destroyed the building, but have simply reveal what is not essential to the building. The building can stand with or without the non-essential accumulations. This particular criticism is an example of what I mean.
Such is my perspective, before the next big shift occurs!
(of the ohwhy-do-I-get-into-these-big-debates-I-hate-them-so-much class)