The Amish are very conservative Christians. They are a very closed society, quite different from other Christians in terms of lifestyle so there is a great interest in their religious beliefs and value system.
The Amish believe in Bible and Jesus Christ as Saviour. They believe in a peaceful and non-violent way of life. The Amish consider that their religion should be practiced and not only displayed. It means that if they love Jesus, they are here to do his work. That means that they live a simple life of faith, dedication and willingness to help those who are in need.
Are The Amish Christians?
The Amish are Christians ( Protestant stream). They are closely related to the Anabaptists and associated with the Brethren Quakers and the Mennonites.
The Amish emerged from Anabaptists in the early 16th century and split from the Mennonites in the 17th century. The vast majority of the Amish came to the USA and Canada from Switzerland and the Rhine River Valley in Europe in the early 18th century.
What Are The Basic Beliefs of The Amish?
The Amish believe in one God who exists as a Father, Son and The Holy Spirit. They also believe that God sacrificed his only son for the sake of humanity.
The Amish think about the Bible as a reliable guide to life but they don’t cite it too much because it would be considered a sinful display of pride. Since they are Christians they think that they all should live like brothers and sisters and helping each other always.
They believe that the Church is separate from the State. The Amish are peaceful people who believe that good faith calls for a simple lifestyle and good works.
What sets the Amish apart from other Christians is that they don’t accept any influence of the world change their practice. There are even scriptures in their worship services that warn them to live separately from the world, not to accept new things.
The Amish believe the church services should be held in one of the member’s houses and not in a building specially built for that purpose. This is pretty unique in the Christian world but the explanation can be found in the past.
While the Amish were still living in Europe ( 16th ,17th century ), they were highly persecuted (Anabaptists in general) because of their views of the nature of baptism and other issues so it was much safer to hold the church services in someone’s house. They kept this practice when they come to North America.
The Amish believe in adult baptism. They don’t see much sense in child baptism. They expect their children to follow the parent’s rules about all aspects of their lives but they also think that only adult person can truly commit to the church and the community.
The Amish educate their children but only to a certain level ( until 8th grade). They think that higher education may promote some ideas counter to traditional Christian values. Plus the Amish are usually engaged in agriculture and handicrafts for which practice is more important than formal education.
The Amish don’t believe that abstract subjects taught in high schools can contribute to their lives in any way so they stop a formal education after 8th grade.
The Amish don’t believe in accepting help from the outside world so that’s why they reject even the help from US government. They don’t receive Social security benefits.
The Amish believe that illness is God’s will and that they shouldn’t cure the sick person but only pray for him/her. That’s why they don’t use medical services and don’t go to hospitals. Many organizations that protect humans’ rights persecute them in courts for the inhuman treatment of sick family members.
The Amish believe that only a marriage between two Amish can be successful. As a result, there are a lot of genetic disorders in Amish communities due to a lack of genetic diversity.
As they rarely, almost never accept a non-Amish person to become a member of the community, we can conclude that all American Amish ( about 250.000 people ) are descendants of the same 200 Amish- founders of the first community in the New World.
They consider these disorders as God’s will and don’t have any intention to change something so the next generations are born with less defects.
The Amish believe that they shouldn’t be using any of the items/tools men invented to help themselves in life/work. They believe the people should live like they used to many centuries ago.
Modern technology and anything that helps a person to perform any type of work easier is actually Devil’s things.
What Are The Amish Values?
The major Amish values are family, tradition, humility, self-discipline, hard work, living Christian faith.
The Amish consider large families with a lot of kids as a blessing from God. For an Amish way of life, it’s very practical to have plenty of children as they also work on the family farms.
The Amish like tradition, they don’t like modern things like technological items or conveniences like AC, cars, or mechanized farm machinery and don’t allow the outside world to influence their everyday life.
The arrogance and the pride are counter to their basic values. They highly value humility, calmness and simplicity. They live simple lives, they wear simple, but practical cloths, they produce their own food, they cook simple meals…
Collectivism is very important to the Amish. They are always ready to help any member of the society in need, they work together. This is totally opposite to the individualistic orientation of the American population.
The Amish think that if they start using the Devil’s things like electricity or modern technology, these things could make the members less dependent on the community, which is bad.
Did you know that Amish don’t make photos ? They consider photos can nurture personal vanity and vanity is something the Amish highly disapprove.
Since they are peaceful and non-violent people ( at least they are trying to be) they never take part in military actions.
Hopefully, you find this article helpful in understanding Amish religion and beliefs better.