No Explanation Is Needed for a Believer; No Explanation Suffices for an Unbeliever

Franz Werfel? John LaFarge? George Seaton? Irving Wallace? Charles Brent? James G. Stahlman? Dwain Hobbs? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Events deemed miraculous have always been controversial. Believers readily accept a supernatural explanation, but skeptics are unwilling to endorse this viewpoint. Religious pilgrimage sites such as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France boast many seemingly miraculous cures, but detractors resist unconventional explications. A two part statement depicts these clashing perspectives. Here are four versions:

No explanation is needed for a believer;
no explanation suffices for an unbeliever.

To a non-believer, no explanation is possible.
For a believer, no explanation is necessary.

To those who believe no explanation is necessary;
to those who do not believe no explanation will satisfy.

For those who believe in God no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not believe in God no explanation is possible.

A message of this type appears at the beginning of the popular award-winning 1943 film “The Song of Bernadette”. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” of Missouri in December 1882. This concise instance occurred within an editorial discussing the credibility of the biblical tale of the prophet Jonah who was engulfed by a giant aquatic creature and survived. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The story of Jonah and the Whale is of course one of the first biblical difficulties which skeptics and unbelievers take hold of, and the temptation to gain this easy vantage-ground has been strengthened by the attempt on the part of Bishop Ryan to reconcile the miracle with natural law and by the assumption that the great sea monster which swallowed the prophet was a special creation or an animal otherwise unknown to science.

There is no necessity of resorting to such explanations. No single miracle can be explained, and there is no use in trying. No explanation is needed for a believer; no explanation suffices for an unbeliever. There are people who honestly refuse to believe in any miracle, either of Christ or of the prophets before Him or of the saints since His day.

No author was specified for the passage above; hence, it should be considered anonymous. Attempting to trace this saying has been very difficult because it can be expressed in many ways.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading No Explanation Is Needed for a Believer; No Explanation Suffices for an Unbeliever

Notes:

  1. 1882 December 22, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jonah and the Whale, Quote Page 4, Column 2, St. Louis, Missouri. (Newspapers_com)