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Nightclub Disaster: A Parable of Hell

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A Tract for the Dubious and Unbelieving

In a moment, suddenly, the very plastic and synthetic trappings that encouraged a false gaiety, a pseudo excitement, are turned by a pyrotechnic spark into an inferno of relentless and devastating flames. In that instant, the happy crowd of bonhomie, whose density added to the pleasure of shared anticipation, became a trap and glut of crushing bodies, of violent and fierce competitors for space and air.

In that terrifying swift movement when every expectation of a ‘good time’ is turned into a horror of inconceivable, irrevocable chaos with no way out, how shall we who believe not see in this a very parable of hell? Is not this whole generation rushing mindlessly to such a doom? Whatever its forms of noisy pleasure and enjoyment, is it not all ‘plastic’ and pyrotechnic display, which, in the suddenness of the moment, turns the gasp of novel excitement into a shriek of unimagined terror? The never-before smelled stench of burning flesh, of seared lungs, of melting plastic excruciatingly dripping upon trapped bodies in anguished, terror-stricken cries of a kind never before heard; is that not a hell? Only the flames illuminating the ghastly darkness into which everything has suddenly been plunged, converts the humanly ordered arrangement of tables and stage into a whirlwind of crush and crunch of compacted bodies and debris that bar every exit!

Who can call then upon the name of the Lord when one’s mind is a frenzy, and one’s lungs a bellow of unbearable and devastating heat? What would one give now to take back those spurned occasions when one contemptuously dismissed some Christian’s pleading invitation to pray, deriding and dismissing the appeal given? How contemptible and simplistic this fundamentalist notion of heaven and hell, of salvation and eternal life. It was scorned with a shrug of that same mentality that is quick, even now, to condemn these thoughts as an irresponsible and distasteful exploitation of the recent tragedy, and prefers instead suitable and comforting sentiments for the grieving.

This is the expression of another wisdom. And the eternity of its proponents will be all the more anguished and compounded, for, not willing themselves to enter, dissuade others, and by so doing, pave a path to hell with their well-meaning intentions! Dear skeptical, and perhaps offended reader, while you yet have breath and calm, consider that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” The great preacher Spurgeon enjoined his hearers to consider their ways: “Don’t weary God—come try Him at once, confess, believe and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved.” It is a luxury of choice that a sudden, unexpected, and final moment might not afford. Do take it.

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