I love Christianity and the Church, and the Church asks us to believe that Christ is divine and incarnated in the Virgin Mary. The world can be a very difficult, dark, and harsh place with suffering, and Christianity gives us inspiration and hope of salvation and of resurrection. Christ asks us to believe in Him, which I take to mean to put our trust in Him, not so much His divinity or incarnation. Yet the Bible gives many indications that Christ should be considered divine and incarnate of the Virgin Mary. And not only divine, but the second person of the Trinity, the Logos. I would like to be together with God, as our concept of communion lays out. And a nice, well known clergyman said in a sermon that we should accept the Nicene Creed if we are to take communion.
And yet this puts me in a difficult place, because of my doubts. I believe that God exists, because of love, energy, life, and righteousness. I also believe that Jesus lived and think that it's more likely than not that souls survive death. And I know that the Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would be killed and resurrect.
Yet for me, unfortunately, a key part of the Nicene Creed is a mystery: that Christ was God and the Fathers divine, only begotten son who incarnated of the Virgin Mary. If I were to make a guess, it would be an extremely weak one, and it would be that this did not happen, because it is such an extremely rare, unusual occurance for humans. Nonetheless, this occurance is not something I can seriously reject either, because I did not live then to see what was happening.
When I grew up in the church, this was notsomething I seriously disputed, although I often had some uncertainty about it. Then when I was about 19, I read Mark's gospel 12-13 times to memorize it. One thing that stuck out at me was the separation between John the Baptist, his disciples, and Jesus and His disciples. This made me think that Jesus was not the Messiah, or else John would have recognized this and joined Jesus' disciples. Years later I found a book on John the Baptist by Fr. Semion Vishnyakov that dealt with this issue in a skillful way, but nonetheless, it was the beginning of serious doubts for me.
Then when I received a secondary education, my mind became much more critical, which is necessary for higher education, and a normally helpful, very healthy and positive thing. In fact, I don't want to lose or reduce my ability for critical thinking, because there are times when people are abused and suffering, and critical thinking can notice that so that you can come to their aid.
When I learned of the importance of believing the Nicene Creed's teachings, I began to study them. I picked one of the simplest elements that I did not have a belief about - the prophecies of Christ's resurrection. I spent a few years studying them and made a website about it on rakovskii.livejournal.com I have come to believe strongly that the Messiah's killing and resurrection were prophesied. And yet, I fear that I am not willing or able to spend the same, long time studying each of the remaining tenets to reach an opinion. The studying was so enjoyable and I loved it, but I am at the point where I worry that I don't have the time or energy for it.
The reasons people give for believing in Christ's incarnation and divinity include that the Bible predicted it and it describes it happening. In my opinion, the Bible really does say both of those things, and I don't reject the occurance of miracles, but I feel very uncertain that the events in the Bible occurred the way that they are said to.
I understand the logic behind the Incarnation and about the Trinity, and I don't exclude that the Incarnation could happen. I know that God can do anything. People have experienced what to them are strong appearances of Christ or the Theotokos, and they describe their experience of Christ in a divine way. Another fact is that the disciples were very sincere in their faith and thus were able to undergo persecution for it. The Evangelicals usually would say that one should pray sincerely and then the Holy Spirit should come upon the person and give him or her a very strong moment of belief, after which the person is one of faith.
Unfortunately, I could go through each and give counterarguments to show that they are not conclusive proof. Having an apparition does not mean that other claims related to it are true and claims of miracles can be found in other religions. But actually I would much prefer for the Incarnation and His Sonship in the Trinity to be true. My difficulty is rather in thinking that this extremely, otherwise unlikely event in history actually occurred. I don't want to force or hypnotize myself to think something that is not. Isn't it better if I recognize reality, whether I prefer it or not?
Some good advice that I have heard, and that I have taken are to pray about this important matter, and to go to communion prayerfully. I intend to continue occasionally thinking about this question and cannot break with the Church or its teachings based on what I know. I am also glad that I can talk with people on this forum about it. It's a difficult and unwanted impasse for me. I would much prefer to be confident in my faith and sincere when I pray the Creed and other songs about Christ-God.
Thank you for listening to me. God Bless.