FACT CHECK: Did Napoleon Say, ‘Religious Wars Are Basically People Killing Each Other Over Who Has The Better Imaginary Friend’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook credits French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte with saying, “Religious wars are basically people killing each other over who has the better imaginary friend.”

Verdict: False

The saying, frequently shared on atheist Facebook pages, appears nowhere in Napoleon’s writings.

Fact Check:

Napoleon Bonaparte, a French military leader, is best known for conquering much of Europe during the early 19th century and crowning himself the first emperor of France.

There is, however, no evidence that the quote attributed to Napoleon in the Facebook post originated with him. The Daily Caller News Foundation found no record of it in his writings.

“We cannot find a Napoleon quotation like this, nor does it seem evenly (sic) remotely credible,” said Peter Hicks of the Napoleon Foundation in an email to the DCNF. “Napoleon does not even seem to have made a remark concerning the French wars of religion 1562-98.”

Furthermore, two other experts – Florida State University professor Rafe Blaufarb and Oxford University professor Michael Broers – also noted in emails to the DCNF that the language of the quotation did not match that of the time period.

The origin of the expression is unknown, but it has been circulating since at least 1999.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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