One of my youth students once asked me how they could know that this entire world was not an illusion and that they were not just hooked up to machine like in the matrix or that we were not just a computer simulation developed by aliens. They were very disturbed by the idea.
I was at a loss as to how to comfort them, but then I remembered the scene from C. S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair where the witch tries to convince Puddleglum and the children that Narnia isn’t real - that the black pit where she lives is the only real thing - that they just invented it all. Puddleglum breaks the spell by sticking his hand in the enchanted fire and crying out the name of Aslan after saying:
Suppose we have (just dreamed Narnia). Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.
I showed the kids this clip from the BBC version of the story and it clicked - they understood. There is a deceiver who tries to lead us away from the light and we must resist the lies. That 5 minutes of brilliant story and imagery did what I could not have done with a thousand words.