As someone who has never really embraced modern technology other than out of convenience and necessity, I have always been fascinated with the Amish. For one thing we have nothing similar in the UK (unless they are hidden somewhere) and for another, they seem to have managed to maintain their way of living irrespective of the pressures of the world around them. Here are 7 interesting things about the Amish.
The Amish are not a cult. They are a Christian Sect, a sub-group of the Mennonite church. The religion’s roots lie in Switzerland and Alsace (German/French border) with Jakob Amman in 1693.
One of the interesting things about the Amish religion is that it is Anabaptitst. You do not become part of the community until you have been baptised and that doesn’t happen until adulthood and can be as late as the age of 25. Once you’ve been baptised you are allowed to marry as long as you wed another Amish.
Two of the key concepts of the Amish faith are the rejection of Hochmut (pride and arrogance) in favor of Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit which means calmness, composure and placidity.
Another of the interesting things about the Amish religion is probably also why they are very often mis-understood by fellow Americans. The Amish submit to the “Will of Jesus” and this is expressed as a group norm which is far from the individualism of most Americans (and other Western cultures). It is this tenet of the Amish faith that leads them to eschew modern technology and labor-saving devices. It is believed embracing such things will make you less dependent on the community and also engender a "keeping up with the Jones’s" attitude. Having status goods and cultivating personal wealth and vanity are against the church’s teachings.
Amish church members practice non-resistance and will not perform any type of military service or commit acts of physical violence.
Before teenagers are baptised they are given leave to experience the world outside the Amish community. This period is known as Rumspringa, translated from Pennsylvania Deutsch as running around. During this time they are still bound by their faith but rules are relaxed. Amish teenagers use this time to experiment with dressing in the latest fashions, smoking, listening to recorded music, using cell phones and just about anything else. Rumspinga ends when they make a request for baptism or they elect to leave the church. Most choose Amish.
One of the interesting things about the Amish you might find surprising is that they are growing in number. There has been a steady increase recorded for the last few years. With an average 6.7 children per family, they are one of the fastest growing populations in the world.
I hope I have done justice with these interesting things about the Amish. The likelihood of any of them ever reading this is extremely remote but I apologise if I have misrepresented anything.
So ladies, what ways of life or religious tenets do you find fascinating?
Top Photo Credit: Mike Cohn
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