Images and posts shared on social media misattribute an imagined exchange between Satan and Jesus to the late C.S. Lewis, the British author known for The Chronicles of Narnia.
The various posts on social media show a quote first from ‘Satan’, who describes the fear and anxiety that he will provoke, then from ‘Jesus’, who says he will bring together people and families. The full text is transcribed below:
“Satan: I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil.
Jesus: I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources.”
One image makes the further claim that the quote was written by Lewis in 1942 in response to World War II ( here ).
The quote, however, is misattributed to C.S. Lewis and was in fact written by a social media user this year.
In 1942, Lewis published three non-fiction books: The Case for Christianity ( here ) , A Preface to Paradise Lost ( here ), and Broadcast Talks ( here ). In none of these three books does this quote appear.
The same year, Lewis also published a work of fiction, The Screwtape Letters. This epistolary novel was a satirical account of an exchange between two demons, used to examine theological discussions related to temptation, ( here ). Nowhere in this book does a quote similar to the one attributed to Lewis on social media appear.
In the book Mere Christianity, published in 1952, but adapted from a series of talks Lewis gave during World War II, Lewis discussed the influences “Satan” and “God” have had on humankind:
“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could "be like gods […] And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. The reason why it can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine.” ( here ) This exchange is evidently distinct to the quote examined in this check.
The viral quote on social media can instead be traced back to a Facebook post made on March 12, 2020 by a US woman named Heidi May ( archive.vn/lwdmA ), as first reported by Snopes on March 30, 2020 ( here ).
May told Reuters she wrote the exchange on a day she was “feeling overwhelmed”, adding, “Jesus spoke these words to my heart.”
False claim. There is no evidence that the author C.S. Lewis wrote the quote attributed to him on social media. The quote comes from a March 2020 post by a Facebook user.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.