Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
What about the argument that St. Paul never mentioned the Virgin Birth?
So what? We're not Protestants.
I've never heard a protestant use that argument, just about every protestant that I know holds firmly to the virgin birth. It's usually non-Christians that use that argument.
I do believe the intention of that first comment was to imply that Orthodox are not Scripturalists, and that we do not rely solely on the Bible as Protestants tend to. For most Protestants, if it is not in the Bible it is not true, real, or Divine, which is why in ignorance they largely reject the Apostolic and Holy Traditions, even though most of the Tradition is in fact widely mentioned in the Scriptures, including the veneration of Saints, Liturgical worship, the Real Presence, and the Heirarchy of priests, all which are openly and defiantly rejected according to most Protestant theology.
Even Islam teaches the Virgin birth of Jesus, yet strangely fails to infer much from this. I always thought that odd.
As others have stated, this is a crucial tenet of Christianity. Without this, it questions many teachings of the church and the religion, including the divinity of Christ.
Although there is this common ground, notice that Islam attaches no theological significance to the Virgin birth; Surah 3:59 states: "Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is." Muslims often state that Adam's creation was a greater miracle, since he had no parents at all! Moreover, there does not seem to be any compelling reason for the virgin birth in the Qur'an, since Islam denies original sin; the miracle is merely an arbitrary act of God's will, an expression of His power. However, one interesting point in the Hadith, the narrations of Muhammad (the second source of authority for Muslims), indicates the uniqueness of Christ's birth: Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "When any human being is born, Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.506)http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0053.xml
"How can I give birth to a son if no man has touched me?"; receiving the answer; "Just so! God creates what he wants: when he decides something, it is enough that he should say: let it be! and it is" (III, 147; XIX, 203). A version that confirms the typically Islamic sense of the absolute authority and power of God, and the complete submission of man to his will.http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/marykran.htm
The Koran gives no details about the birth of Jesus. It at once presents Mary who, returning among her people and showing them the Child, becomes the object of terrible slanders. The episode, brief but dramatic, is suddenly solved when the Infant, speaking unexpectedly from the cradle, takes his Mother's defence and exonerates her from all blame (XIX, 30-33). This miracle, to which the Koran refers more than once (e.g. III, 46; V, 113), is among those that have made most impression on the imagination of Moslem believers and that are still alive in their conscience. The episode, however, has also a kerigmatic importance for Islamic theology , since the fact that the Child speaks from the cradle is a violation of natural laws and therefore bears witness to the greatness of the Spirit that is in him.
The Koran does not give us any other information on the Virgin's life, while tradition recalls various and partly conflicting versions of the last years of her earthly presence and of her ascension to heaven. But neither the Koran nor tradition give the story of the Transitus Mariae.
Those who do not know the Islamic religion may be surprised to learn that Mahomet defended Mary's virginity, or that he recognized her as the woman chosen by God for a function that was to be unique in history. Mahomet's commitment to defend her and exalt her, also explains his harsh condemnation of the Jews (e.g. V, 156), guilty of persisting in the slander and in refusing to admit Mary's unique role. It is necessary to clarify, however, that, also for Mahomet, Mary is unimaginable if dissociated from her Son: the divine election and the purity of the Mother are directly proportioned to the qualities of the Son; the moment of their interdependence is greatly felt, therefore, since the historical greatness of Mary is conditioned by that of her Son, and the Son in his turn depends on his Mother, who constitutes the indispensable promise for his presence on earth. In the Koran Christ is called repeatedly Issa ibn Maryam—"Jesus son of Mary" (V, 19, 75, 81, 113; XIX, 34)—a name which if it will become perhaps the best known one in the Islamic world, will also be the one that characterizes most the figure of Christ. This correlation, which has led Moslem religious thought to affirm the indissolubility of the dual concept Mary-Jesus and to base its refutation of Christian doctrine on it, seems to have its foundation in the principle of necessity. The negation of Christ's divinity finds its reason, in fact, precisely in Mary's human nature; that is, in the genetic relationship which, entailing the transmission of properties, would exclude a leap of quality from Mother to Son.
This conception, in which there is also inherent the idea of the primacy of the female line over the male line (in the Koran narration of Mary's life, while the person of Zacharias, the Virgin's uncle and guardian, is thwarted by the constant presence of the Angel of the Lord, that of Joseph is completely ignored), is due, in our opinion, more than to the influence of the apocrypha, to an ancient way of feeling that is characteristic of the Semites of Arabia. It is a way of feeling which, is also alive in Mahomet and which leads to mental operations of the analogical type, to a thought geared less to speculation than to the pursuit of parallelisms, to the concordance of diverse but congruent elements, and therefore to the vision of a firm reality, because it is founded on perfect and therefore immutable relationships, which seem to exclude the possibility of gradual evolution. What Mahomet and his commentators failed to grasp intellectually, is the concept that the presence of God can come about in different ways, realizing itself as a circumstantial and determined presence, without causing for this reason any alternation in God himself. This presence, furthermore, may have the character of a gradual and growing manifestation; and may mark a new temporal effect at the very moment in which God sets up a new relationship with his creatures. That Islamic theology should find it so difficult to grasp this concept, seems almost incomprehensible when it is remembered that Mahomet himself, in addition to affirming with unusual forcefulness the omnipotence of God, also perceived a certain development God's manifestation of himself through his "messengers", and recognized Moses, and particularly Jesus and himself, as having a role which, though not well defined theoretically, seems superior to that of the other prophets.
In Islam the Virgin Birth is essential as a function of a true miracle, to demonstrate the power of God, just as Moses was found in the basket. For Islam, tangible, extraordinary miracles are signs of God's activity, and a confirmation of faith. However, since Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus Christ, rather embracing the Prophet Issa as indeed the Biblical Messiah, but defining such in more Judaic concepts rather then Christian. Interestingly, as the article points out above, Islam theology, much like in the Orthodox, in fact defines the fully Human Nature of Jesus Christ in context of His birth from the purely human Virgin Mary, and as such reject any divinity of Jesus Christ precisely because of His human ancestry through the Virgin Mary.
We should note that Mohammad was heavily influenced by his experience with early Christians, both in positive and negative ways. He admired our fasting culture, our ritualized prayer routines, and tendency towards pilgrimages, and as such made these exact practices fundamental pillars of Islam, and he openly explained the Christian influence. In the negative, Islam became so antagonistically iconoclastic in a cultural reaction to the Iconography of Christianity. A particular colloquial story tells of Mohammad giving the riot act to Ethiopian Christians he stayed a decade with while in exile in Ethiopia over the abundance of Icons and religious imagery which was a crucial part of Ethiopian public and private devotion and worship. Further, as the article above mentioned, Mohammed was also influenced by the various "heretical" and sectarian branches of Christians from the region, and also specifically favored a lot of Christian influence to counter the Jews who in Arabian peninsula and North/East Africa were a potent political and economic powerhouse who fought many wars in 5th-9th centuries until Christians and Muslims came to dominate politics.