Want to learn more about Amish traditions, culture, and heritage? Want to see how The Amish Village changes over the seasons? We pack our blog with helpful articles all about the Amish culture and some news about The Amish Village.
What do the Amish Believe?
Beliefs vary slightly among Amish communities, some leaning towards more disciplined approaches to their religion and culture, and some allowing for more liberties with things, but the vast majority of their beliefs remain the same. Values like respecting family, loving one another, working hard, and honoring the Bible are beliefs and practices carried out by the Amish. But you may still have some questions regarding why they live without most modern amenities, why they dress differently, and what their religion has to do with it all. We’ll help share some of the behind-the-scenes ideals that most Amish people ascribe to.
1. What do the Amish believe about clothing?
If you see an Amish family at a farmer’s market or traveling through Lancaster, PA you’ll be able to easily identify them by their unique choice of clothing. This is 100% intentional and it ties directly into their belief system that they shouldn’t dress immodestly, or in a way that would convey vanity. The simple color choices, style, and utilitarian nature of their clothing make them stand out but also come as a stark contrast to many of our modern trends today. Amish clothing varies slightly from Mennonite clothing in that it doesn’t include patterns and is limited to a few color choices including white, black, burgundy, brown, purple, or green.
2. What do the Amish believe about Religion?
The Amish religion we see today began in the early 17th century by the Christian leader, Jakob Ammann. Amish beliefs are closest to Anabaptists in that they follow many Protestant beliefs including:
- Baptism by choice
- Not conforming to the ways of this world, a literal translation of Romans 12:2
- Valuing community, fellowship, and family above all else in life
The Amish value hard work and doing all things with love which is reflected in the quality of the work they do, and the craftsmanship that’s come to be identified with Amish wares. Everyday life and customs are governed by an unwritten code of behavior called the Ordnung which is the German word for order, discipline, rule, and system. The goal of these rules is to help the Amish become more Christ-like.
3. What do the Amish believe about School and Education?
The biggest difference between Amish education and “English” education is based on what each society values. For example, the Amish emphasize collaboration and cooperation. Amish curriculum and practices discourage competition or trying to get ahead of the other students. In public education, however, schools push students toward individual advancement and independence.
Another important value is how MUCH education is required. Traditional public and private schools educate students through 12th grade, while Amish schools complete education in 8th grade. After students complete their schooling, education becomes more informal and geared toward preparing for the adult world in the Amish community. They might focus on agricultural or craftsmanship training, with hands-on learning or apprenticeships. A more hands-on approach to learning a particular skill has helped the Amish be successful in business as well as an effective means of passing on valuable skills.
If you want to learn more about the Amish curriculum or Amish educational values, take a look at this blog: Education in the Amish Community.
4. What do the Amish believe about Technology?
You may be aware the Amish don’t drive cars, or connect their homes to electrical lines. While the Amish use other modes of transportation and use generators and propane to power lights, which allows them to remain off the grid. But the truth is that The Amish carefully evaluate technology and changes in society and are particular about which advancements they incorporate into their communities. These decisions are left up to the various church districts within Amish communities, which is why you may see some Amish with forms of technology and others using more manual means for work and living.
Any new technology goes through a rigorous determination process using the Ordnung. Elders assess based on a number of criteria with the most important question being “does this add to or detract from our beliefs on love, family, humility, and hard work.” In some regards, it’s nice to see a different way of life without distractions in the form of TV, Social Media, and the Internet. Does it make doing business in the modern world challenging? Sometimes, but the Amish are resilient people who find a way to work within their belief system while still being part of the world around them. This includes things like:
- Work-only phones
- Hiring drivers to make it easier to do business outside of the Amish community
- Hiring individuals outside of their religious beliefs to help with their website and online presence
If you want to experience Amish living and get an up-close look at how the Amish live out their beliefs, come and visit us at the Amish Village. See tour options here.