May 28, 2015

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge: Good, Bad, or Both?

The hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge burst onto social media recently, and has been growing enormously in popularity. Earlier this week, the BBC reported that over 2 million people used this hashtag in just one 48-hour period!


What is the #CharlieCharlieChallenge?


So, what is this challenge that seems to be taking the internet by storm? It’s a “game” any child can play because it only takes two pencils and a piece of paper. But it bears an eerie similarity to Ouija boards because the idea behind the game is to call on a demonic spirit.

I think this BBC article captured the essence of it pretty well: "It's a game which involves balancing pencils over the words 'yes' and 'no' on a piece of paper. Players ask questions which are supposedly answered by Charlie - a mysterious demon who spookily moves the pencils, if you believe in that sort of thing."

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge is popular among teens right now. It's gone viral and has jumped into the American mainstream.


The Bad


Okay, let me be clear about this. The #CharlieCharlieChallenge is evil ... and I dare say, Satanic. I just want to make sure you know where I'm coming from before you read the next section. I've been accused of being an eternal optimist, so I guess take what I have to say next in that context.  :)


The (Potentially) Good


I think that the popularity of the #CharlieCharlieChallenge points to American kids' inner conviction that there's a spiritual realm and their desire to connect with that realm. (Or maybe they're just curious and wonder if such a spiritual realm is real.) Of course, they're seeking out connection and answers in a very dysfunctional and wrong way; they are looking to connect with evil rather than good, and that is dangerous.

But -- at least from what I've seen up until now -- even a simple awareness of the spiritual reality that surrounds us seems to have escaped most kids in the U.S., especially if you compare them with their Eastern counterparts. I am encouraged to see evidence of a desire to become more aware of it, at any rate. In this era of popularized atheism, I was worried that for many kids and teens in America, that desire had disappeared altogether.

Bottom line, if you are a Christian believer like I am, we serve the God who can take what Satan means for evil and turn it into something good. I hope that the #CharlieCharlieChallenge opens up conversations about the spiritual reality that surrounds us … and ultimately, about God.

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