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Contents

  1. Navigation menu
  2. Scripture Support of Amish Beliefs
  3. Who are the Amish, and what are their beliefs?
  4. On this page
  5. Amish religious practices

Amish communities opened their own Amish schools. In , the United States Supreme Court exempted Amish pupils from compulsory education past eighth grade. By the end of the 20th century, almost all Amish children attended Amish schools. In the last quarter of the 20th century, a growing number of Amish men left farm work and started small businesses because of increasing pressure on small-scale farming.

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Though a wide variety of small businesses exists among the Amish, construction work and woodworking are quite widespread. Until the early 20th century, Old Order Amish identity was not linked to the use of technologies, as the Old Order Amish and their rural neighbors used the same farm and household technologies. Questions about the use of technologies also did not play a role in the Old Order division of the second half of the 19th century. Telephones were the first important technology that was rejected, soon followed by the rejection of cars, tractors, radios, and many other technological inventions of the 20th century.

Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut pride, arrogance, haughtiness and the high value they place on Demut humility and Gelassenheit calmness, composure, placidity , often translated as "submission" or "letting-be".

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Gelassenheit is perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward, to be self-promoting, or to assert oneself. The Amish's willingness to submit to the "Will of Jesus ", expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on the community. Modern innovations such as electricity might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs might cultivate personal vanity.

Electric power lines would be going against the Bible, which says that you shall not be "conformed to the world" Romans Amish lifestyle is regulated by the Ordnung "order" , [11] which differs slightly from community to community, and within a community, from district to district.

What is acceptable in one community may not be acceptable in another. The Ordnung is agreed upon - or changed - within the whole community of baptized members prior to Communion which takes place two times a year. The Ordnung include matters such as dress, permissible uses of technology, religious duties, and rules regarding interaction with outsiders. In these meetings, women also vote in questions concerning the Ordnung. Bearing children, raising them, and socializing with neighbors and relatives are the greatest functions of the Amish family. Amish typically believe that large families are a blessing from God.

Farm families tend to have larger families, because sons are needed to perform farm labor. Working hard is considered godly, and some technological advancements have been considered undesirable because they reduce the need for hard work. Machines such as automatic floor cleaners in barns have historically been rejected as this provides young farmhands with too much free time.

The Amish are known for their plain attire.

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Scripture Support of Amish Beliefs

Men wear solid colored shirts, broad-brimmed hats and suits that signify similarity amongst one another. Amish men grow beards to symbolize manhood, marital status and promote humility. They are forbidden to grow mustaches because they are affiliated with the military, which the Amish are strongly opposed to due to their pacifist beliefs. Women have similar guidelines on how to dress, which are also expressed in the Ordnung, the Amish version of legislation.

They are to wear calf-length dresses, muted colors along with bonnets and aprons. Prayer caps or bonnets are worn by the women because they are a visual representation of their religious beliefs and promote unison through the tradition of every women wearing one. The color of the bonnets signifies whether the women are single, in which they would wear black bonnets or married, thus wearing white bonnets. However, the New Order Amish are slightly more progressive and allow the usage of buttons to help attire clothing. Amish cuisine is noted for its simplicity and traditional qualities.

Food plays an important part in Amish social life and is served at potlucks , weddings, fundraisers, farewells, and other events. Many Amish communities have also established restaurants for visitors. Amish meat consumption is similar to the American average though they tend to eat more preserved meat. Over the years, the Amish churches have divided many times over doctrinal disputes. The largest group, the "Old Order" Amish, a conservative faction that separated from other Amish in the s, are those who have most emphasized traditional practices and beliefs. About 40 different Old Order Amish affiliations are known; the eight major affiliations are below, with Lancaster as the largest one in number of districts and population: [45].


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The table below indicates the use of certain technologies by different Amish affiliations. The use of cars is not allowed by any Old and New Order Amish, nor are radio, television, or in most cases the use of the Internet. The three affiliations: "Lancaster", "Holmes Old Order", and "Elkhart-LaGrange" are not only the three largest affiliations, but they also represent the mainstream among the Old Order Amish. The most conservative affiliations are above, the most modern ones below. Technologies used by very few are on the left; the ones used by most are on the right.

The percentage of all Amish who use a technology is also indicated approximately. According to one scholar, "today, almost all Amish are functionally bilingual in Pennsylvania Dutch and English; however, domains of usage are sharply separated. Pennsylvania Dutch dominates in most in-group settings, such as the dinner table and preaching in church services. In contrast, English is used for most reading and writing. English is also the medium of instruction in schools and is used in business transactions and often, out of politeness, in situations involving interactions with non-Amish.

Finally, the Amish read prayers and sing in Standard German which, in Pennsylvania Dutch, is called Hochdeitsch [a] at church services. The distinctive use of three different languages serves as a powerful conveyor of Amish identity. The Amish largely share a German or Swiss - German ancestry. However some Amish descendants recognize their cultural background knowing that their genetic and cultural traits are uniquely different from other ethnicities.

Certain Mennonite churches have a high number of people who were formerly from Amish congregations. Although more Amish immigrated to North America in the 19th century than during the 18th century, most of today's Amish descend from 18th-century immigrants. The latter tended to emphasize tradition to a greater extent, and were perhaps more likely to maintain a separate Amish identity. Several other groups, called " para-Amish " by G. Waldrep and others, share many characteristics with the Amish, such as horse and buggy transportation, plain dress , and the preservation of the German language.

The members of these groups are largely of Amish origin, but they are not in fellowship with other Amish groups because they adhere to theological doctrines e.

One such former Amish group is the Bergholz Community. Because the Amish are usually baptized no earlier than 18 and children are not counted in local congregation numbers, estimating their numbers is difficult. Rough estimates from various studies placed their numbers at , in , , in , and , in During that time, they established new settlements and moved into six new states.

In , a few religious bodies, including the Amish, changed the way their adherents were reported to better match the standards of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. In , Old Order communities were in 31 U. The largest concentration of Amish west of the Mississippi River is in Missouri, with other settlements in eastern Iowa and southeast Minnesota. Because of rapid population growth in Amish communities, new settlements are formed to obtain enough affordable farmland. Other reasons for new settlements include locating in isolated areas that support their lifestyle, moving to areas with cultures conducive to their way of life, maintaining proximity to family or other Amish groups, and sometimes to resolve church or leadership conflicts.

The adjacent table shows the eight states with the largest Amish population in the years , , , and Increasing land prices in Ontario had reportedly limited the ability of members in those communities to purchase new farms. In , an Amish settlement was founded in Manitoba near Stuartburn. In Europe, no split occurred between Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites; like the Amish Mennonites in North America, the European Amish assimilated into the Mennonite mainstream during the second half of the 19th century through the first decades of the 20th century.

Eventually, they dropped the word "Amish" from the names of their congregations and lost their Amish identity and culture.

Who are the Amish, and what are their beliefs?

Only a few outsiders, so-called seekers, [ citation needed ] have ever joined the Amish. Since , only some 75 people have joined and remained members of the Amish. Two whole Christian communities have joined the Amish: The church at Smyrna, Maine , one of the five Christian Communities of Elmo Stoll after Stoll's death [79] [80] and the church at Manton, Michigan , which belonged to a community that was founded by Harry Wanner — , a minister of Stauffer Old Order Mennonite background.

Most of the members of these two para-Amish communities originally came from Plain churches , i. More people have tested Amish life for weeks, months, or even years, but in the end decided not to join. Others remain close to the Amish, but never think of joining. Stephen Scott , himself a convert to the Old Order River Brethren , distinguishes four types of seekers:.

Amish populations have higher incidences of particular conditions, including dwarfism , [82] Angelman syndrome , [83] and various metabolic disorders , [84] as well as an unusual distribution of blood types. Some of these disorders are rare or unique, and are serious enough to increase the mortality rate among Amish children. The Amish are aware of the advantages of exogamy , but for religious reasons, marry only within their communities. When a child is born with a disorder, it is accepted into the community and tasked with chores within their ability.

Their extensive family histories are useful to researchers investigating diseases such as Alzheimer's , Parkinson's , and macular degeneration. While the Amish are at an increased risk for some genetic disorders, researchers have found their tendency for clean living can lead to better health. The Amish are protected against many types of cancer both through their lifestyle and through genes that may reduce their susceptibility to cancer. They are typically covered and dressed by wearing wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves which protect their skin.

Treating genetic problems is the mission of Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pennsylvania , which has developed effective treatments for such problems as maple syrup urine disease , a previously fatal disease. The clinic is embraced by most Amish, ending the need for parents to leave the community to receive proper care for their children, an action that might result in shunning.

People's Helpers is an Amish-organized network of mental health caregivers who help families dealing with mental illness and recommend professional counselors. The Old Order Amish do not typically carry private commercial health insurance.

In some Amish communities, the church will collect money from its members to help pay for medical bills of other members. Although not forbidden, most Amish do not practice any form of birth control. They are against abortion and also find "artificial insemination, genetics, eugenics, and stem cell research" to be "inconsistent with Amish values and beliefs".

As time has passed, the Amish have felt pressures from the modern world. Issues such as taxation, education, law and its enforcement, and occasional discrimination and hostility are areas of difficulty. The Amish way of life in general has increasingly diverged from that of modern society. On occasion, this has resulted in sporadic discrimination and hostility from their neighbors, such as throwing of stones or other objects at Amish horse-drawn carriages on the roads. The Amish do not usually educate their children past the eighth grade, believing that the basic knowledge offered up to that point is sufficient to prepare one for the Amish lifestyle.

Almost no Amish go to high school and college. In many communities, the Amish operate their own schools, which are typically one-room schoolhouses with teachers usually young, unmarried women from the Amish community. In Wisconsin v.

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Yoder , the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the conviction, [] and the U. Supreme Court affirmed this, finding the benefits of universal education were not sufficient justification to overcome scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The Amish are subject to sales and property taxes. As they seldom own motor vehicles, they rarely have occasion to pay motor vehicle registration fees or spend money in the purchase of fuel for vehicles.

In , this policy was codified into law. This exemption applies to a religious group that is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance, provides a reasonable level of living for its dependent members, and has existed continuously since December 31, Supreme Court clarified in that Amish employers are not exempt, but only those Amish individuals who are self-employed. In , Pathway Publishers was founded by two Amish farmers to print more material about the Amish and Anabaptists in general.

It is located in Lagrange, Indiana , and Aylmer , Ontario. Pathway has become the major publisher of Amish school textbooks, general-reading books, and periodicals. Also, a number of private enterprises publish everything from general reading to reprints of older literature that has been considered of great value to Amish families. Groups that sprang from the same late 19th century Old Order Movement as the Amish share their Pennsylvania German heritage and often still retain similar features in dress. The Noah Hoover Old Order Mennonites are so similar in outward aspects to the Old Order Amish dress, beards, horse and buggy, extreme restrictions on modern technology, Pennsylvania German language , that they are often perceived as Amish and even called Amish.

Conservative "Russian" Mennonites and Hutterites who also dress plain and speak German dialects emigrated from other European regions at a different time with different German dialects, separate cultures, and related but different religious traditions. The few remaining Plain Quakers are similar in manner and lifestyle, including their attitudes toward war, but are unrelated to the Amish. Almost all modern Quakers have since abandoned their traditional dress.

The Northkill Amish Settlement , established in in Berks County, Pennsylvania , was the first identifiable Amish community in the new world. The sons of the family took their weapons but father Jacob did not allow them to shoot. Jacob Sr. Jacob escaped after about eight months, but the boys were held for several years. As early as Amish were farming side by side with Native American farmers in Pennsylvania.

The Amish, as pacifists, did not engage in warfare with Native Americans, nor displace them directly, but were part of a wave of European immigrants who forced Native Americans westward. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 3 July This article is about the Old Order Amish, and only marginally for other Amish groups.

For other uses, see Amish disambiguation. Distinctive doctrines. Key people. Largest groups. Related movements. Main article: Anabaptism. Main article: Old Order Movement. The Amish are non-violent conscientious objectors who choose to abstain from all acts of war, including military service. Amish principles of non-violence are supported by many scripture verses, including Genesis , Psalm and Proverbs The Amish believe that military service is not a personal choice, but rather something that affects the community as a whole.

Amish religious practices

This is supported by Proverbs , which reads, "A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. Alexandra Corbella has been writing for more than 10 years. She has been published everywhere from the "The Collector" to popular blogs like Beauty Collection and Collective She holds a Political Science degree, and has worked for several politicians.


  1. 1. They read a “high German” version of the Bible?
  2. The basic Amish beliefs.
  3. Little Known Facts About the Amish and the Mennonites - Wikisource, the free online library.
  4. Beliefs and way of life;
  5. The basic Amish beliefs?
  6. Learn What the Amish Believe and How They Worship God;
  7. Amish - Wikipedia.
  8. She earned a M. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language. See disclaimer. Most Amish travel by horse and buggy, because they attempt to avoid modern means of transportation. About the Author Alexandra Corbella has been writing for more than 10 years.

    Many Amish practices are based on the religious principle of separation from the world—that the practices of the church should be separate from the larger society. The Amish emphasize the biblical teaching of mutual aid, urging church members to help each other in times of difficulty or disaster. Thus, they decline to participate in Social Security and commercial insurance coverage, which they view as undermining their faith in God and dependence on the church community. The Amish affirm the eighteen articles of faith written in the Dordrecht Confession, a Dutch Anabaptist confession of faith written in Candidates for baptism review these articles of Christian faith, which also include articles on distinctive Amish beliefs such as nonviolence, excommunication, and shunning.

    The hymns of the Ausbund , many of which were written by imprisoned Anabaptists in the sixteenth century, also shape Amish beliefs. This hymnbook, which does not include musical notation, is the primary songbook used in Amish worship services.