Like many, I have been appalled at the story out of Wisconsin about the two 12 year old girls accused of attempting to murder their “friend.” Murder is shocking. Murder by teenagers is more shocking. Premeditated (attempted) murder by two pre-teen girls is unthinkable. But this is what allegedly happened.
In the article linked to above, the story begins to unfold about “Slender Man:”
“Both suspects explained the stabbing to police referencing their dedication to Slender Man, the character they discovered on a website called Creepypasta Wiki, which is devoted to horror stories.
Weier told police that Slender Man is the “leader” of Creepypasta, and in the hierarchy of that world, one must kill to show dedication. Weier said that Geyser told her they should become “proxies” of Slender Man — a paranormal figure known for his ability to create tendrils from his fingers and back — and kill their friend to prove themselves worthy of him. Weier said she was surprised by Geyser’s suggestion, but also excited to prove skeptics wrong and show that Slender Man really did exist.
The suspects believed that “Slender,” as Weier called him, lived in a mansion in the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. The plan was to kill the victim and walk to Slender’s mansion.”
I am not one to “see” demons behind every cough, crime, or tragedy. We have a growing understanding of psychological issues that many people in our communities face. Is it possible to balance a scientific view (Psychological issue) and a spiritual view (there is such a thing as demons)?
The Bible addresses demonic activity.
-Jesus drives out an evil spirit in Mark 1:21-28;
-Restores the demoniac at Gerasenes (Mark 5:1-20) who caused the man to live outside of town as he could not even be bound by chains. He would cry out at night and cut himself.
-Jesus heals a boy possessed by a demon that robbed the boy of his speech and threw him to the ground (Mark 9:14-29)
-Paul and Silas pray for a spirit to come out of a slave girl (Acts 16:16-18)
While not an exhaustive list, it briefly presents a worldview that is scoffed at today- a spirit world. There are certainly strands of Christianity in the Western Church that stills has some sense of the spirit world- I sense that the mainline church (of which I am a part of as United Methodist) generally does not put much thought into the spirit world.
Therein lies the issue- maybe we need to. This doesn’t mean that we need to see the demonic behind every tree- or go on exorcism sprees- but its possible that we, as Christian pastors and leaders, need to take this more seriously. It means that we need to guard our children to the influences that they are opening themselves to. It means that we need to learn to pray and engage in the warfare of prayer.