Reflections on Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”

The other night, I was moved by this speech by Charlie Chaplin in a movie called “The Great Dictator”. This was before U.S. involvement in World War II and this it is a call to action and Chaplin’s recognition of a need for change are exemplary and encouraging. They are a desire that we, as humans, should share. This passion that Charlie Chaplin has reminds me of when Calvin says that we all have a “sense of the divine” in us; that we have the moral law written on our hearts and a desire for a utopia that was once in Eden and now is lost with Adam.

Today, we still have the same problems that Chaplin speaks of: “greed poisoning men’s souls and barricading the world with hate.” He speaks of us having an “abundance, but [it has] left us in want…More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.” These statements speak of our depravity – our natural state. We need to fix theses problems; we need a call to action; we need a savior. But is our hope in the means a false savior? We have countlessly placed a false redeemer in our world to fix our problems hoping that this will be it, that this will be our redemption. Just like Chaplin’s hope in science and reason in the hands of men.

I am deeply stirred by these words of Charlie Chaplin, they resonate in my heart and echo the pains that I see in this world. Chaplin was close, oh so close, but he misses the mark. Our only hope can’t be in man, as hard we may try. It cannot be science and reason, even though they may be beneficial. The problems that Chaplin speaks of are not fixed with flesh and blood but the miraculous power of God himself. Our hope and redemption is Christ for this world and in the coming kingdom where he will bring all hate and despair to an end. He alone will infuse love in our souls and crush greed from our hearts. This is our savior. This is our hope. So let us persevere through this dark world fixing our eyes upon our savior and let us strive for the actions that Chaplin calls us to but let us replace this false hope, this false savior to fix “the curse of Adam” that flows throughout our very veins, with the second Adam — the Alpha and Omega and our true savior and redeemer, Jesus Christ.

By Anthony


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