2. Religion

Core Beliefs

  • The Amish are pacifists
    • Believe that conflict destroys interpersonal relationships and harmony within the community
  • Recognize themselves as the chosen people of God
  • Live in a commonwealth/sectarian society in which they do not impress their beliefs onto others
  • Hold modesty and purity as their virtues
  • Have a traditional code of ethics which prohibits:
    • Sex before marriage
    • Divorce
    • Homosexuality 
  • Believe in adult baptism
    • Amish thought it was wrong to baptize infants
    • The Amish were persecuted for this radical belief    
  • Believe a person gets into heaven by following the rules of the church
    • If an individual questions anything, he is subject to eternal damnation      

Rumspringa

  • Rumspringa means “running around”
  • At the age of 16, Amish children have the opportunity to experience life outside of the Amish community
  • Rumspringa typically lasts for a few years
  • The children are able to experience the modern amenities including:
    • Driving
    • Technology
    • Dressing “English”
    • Drugs and Alcohol
  • During this period, children take the time to decide whether to join the church by being baptized as an adult
  • Emphasizes that the Amish way of life is a choice
  • Around 90% of children choose to return to the Amish Church, officially becoming part of the community

The Bible and the Church

  • The Amish use the same Bible that their European ancestors brought to America
  • Bible is written in antiquated German
    • Most Amish today are unable to read the Bible they worship and live by
  • Adopt a literal interpretation of the Bible
  • Amish hold worship services in one another’s homes
    • To the Amish, a church is not a building—it’s a group of friends and family

Elders

  • In each Amish community, there are a group of men who act as the church leaders
  • The Elders are the ultimate guardians of Amish culture
    • Dictate rules and customs
  • Because the majority of the Amish are unable to read the Bible, they look to the Elders for guidance on the customs and rules of the community
    • Possible concern for corruption
  • Obey Elders without question
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhoz_nLqMlI

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