The recent trending hashtag #charliecharliechallenge has been shown to a lot of teens and tweens recently through social media like Twitter and YouTube videos. In this game, you cross two pencils and put yes and no on a paper, then ask “Charlie” a question and wait to see if the pencil moves to yes or no. Now of course people seeing others do this would usually say “They faked it!” or “They just blew the pencil,” and other similar reactions. In most cases, they are correct that people did this to get attention or to get views on YouTube and other platforms, however, that does not mean there is not something deeper going on.
There have already been warnings that you have heard from Catholic Speakers or Priests about how you shouldn’t play with Ouija Boards or Tarot Cards because it is the devil’s game. One may think that it is all in good fun for the heck of it, and it may be annoying to someone in this day in age when someone tells another what to do. However, when the Catholic Church says this, it is not because they are trying to suppress you, they are actually trying to keep you free.
Let’s start with: “What are demons?”
The Church teaches that demons were angels that chose to rebel against God (similar to how humans did the same thing) and are now roaming the earth seeking to drag down humans to their damnation with them. This is the bare basic fact of what is going on. Adam and Eve’s story shows Satan and his army’s motive of what they want for the human race – they want us to believe that we can be our own gods and don’t love the One True God. Is that not why people would use things like Tarot Cards or Ouija Boards? To discover something that is not in our own power to know for selfish purposes? This is the part on why it is a sin, because it is repeating the very first sin all over again.
So now that we covered why it is a sin, the question may come up: “Well what if it is just in good fun? I mean, nothing ever really happens (most of the time).”
This can be a fair point; however, there are deeper things that happen when you even just mess around with it. What is important to know is that there are two things the devil wants according to C.S. Lewis. Either that you don’t believe he exists or you are completely obsessed with him. So basically far left or far right of the situation.
“Why wouldn’t the devil want to be discovered? Wouldn’t he just want to be feared by all?”
No, the devil is smarter than that. Think about it for a moment. If people knew he existed, that means logic and reason would very clearly and explicitly dictate God exists to unbelievers and they would go run to Him when they are afraid. If believers knew the devil was behind something, they would invite Jesus to cast the devil away from their life.
It can be thought of as a thief in the night who does not want to be discovered after breaking into the house, if the thief is discovered, then the owners would call the cops and the thief would be taken away. That is why exorcist command the demon to say their name during an exorcism, because the prayer becomes more strong and direct when the immediate darkness at hand is brought to light. Similar to taking a test you want to do well on. Most students don’t pray for God to help them on their academics in general, but ask Him to help on the specific test.
Now it may also come up that “I did it, and nothing happened. It’s safe and just a stupid trick.”
We covered that the devil doesn’t want to be discovered so he wouldn’t usually show any manifestations. What basically happened here is that the person who did the challenge just left a window open. Jesus is the gentleman that waits for you to open the door for him, while the devil is, like stated before, is the thief in the night that sneaks in because you left the window open unknowingly.
“So what exactly is the consequence for the devil entering the open window? Does one get possessed? Is that what all this is about?”
Not always, but it does happen. Usually, God does not allow that sort of thing to escalate to such a degree. If anything, it would most likely be something more subtle like stronger temptations to do mortal sins since more power was given to the demons by someone’s actions of the Charlie challenge. Increased pressure and heavier temptations would present themselves that would cause one to mortal sin deeply over and over. It won’t always be lamps and vases flying across the room (although it does happen start with of something like this) because the demons know there is no greater damage and hurt to someone than sin, even the smallest venial one. St. Teresa of Avila said “Hell can do no more greater damage than the smallest venial sin can.”
This story reminds me of when a friend told me when she was on a mission in a different country, a man came up to them and begged for help. Apparently, he had made a pact with the devil on having earthly riches in exchange for his salvation. It turns out he was a very wealthy man in his area, but the reason he came to regret this decision was because he kept on being nagged and losing control to do deeply sinful things.
“Wait! If God prevents the demons from doing things like possession, why not just prevent all bad things from happening in the first place? Plus wouldn’t a believer who has faith in God be protected anyway?”
As said before, God is a gentleman. If you chose something other than Him he will respect your decision. Just like when we sin, it is choosing not just us over God but also, hell over heaven itself. We make that decision. That is why there is a hell, because we wanted one, not God. God lets us pick our decision, and all of its future effects.
Hell is an effect of sin, not a positive punishment like most people see hell. It is actually a natural punishment. Natural punishment is similar to how we spoil our appetite when eating a cookie before dinner. Positive punishment is like a mom spanking her child after eating the cookie. This is why people end up in hell unfortunately, because they chose it in the end.
The same applies with something like the Charlie Charlie challenge, when someone chooses to do it, God respects their choice and unfortunately, he/she ends up with its dangerous effects.
In the end, just don’t do it.