I learned so much about different religious groups at theology school. One of the groups that stood out for me was the Amish. So, when I got the chance to travel to North America to learn more about them, I did not hesitate. During my stay there, I got the privilege of interacting with the Amish firsthand and, therefore, had all the answers regarding them at my fingertips. So, when I came back home, I told my friends about the Amish, and they heard so many questions. I was now well-versed in this topic and could easily answer all questions. I remember one of them who was thinking about joining the Amish community asking me, “Is Amish a religion?”
Yes. Amish is a religion that is part of the Christian Church. They follow the Christian faith and believe in God. The Amish live by the teachings of Jesus Christ and engage in activities such as adult baptism and Holy Communion.
In this article, I invite you to join me to explore more about the Amish. Keep reading to find out the Amish beliefs, traditions, culture, and much more.
What are Amish beliefs?
This group follows a simple set of values and strongly believes in community, family, and hard work. They base their beliefs on Anabaptist teachings and follow a set of rules that they call Ordnung.
The Amish believe that the use of technology goes against God’s word, which says that we should not conform to the things of this world (Romans 12:2). Additionally, they believe in the teachings of God and abide by Jesus’ teachings. That is why they practice values like love, forgiveness, humility, and obedience to elders. They also believe God called them to a simple life of dedication, faith, and discipline.
Though the Amish do not follow the formal education system, they believe in learning through experience. Additionally, the Amish believe in having large families since this is a sign of God’s blessing. Anyone who strays from the Amish’s way of life is shunned or excommunicated. The same goes for anyone within the community that engages in criminal activities.
What are Amish traditions?
These traditional Christians forbid sex before marriage. Two people interested in marrying each other go through a ritual called bed courtship, which involves sleeping together without getting intimate.
The Amish celebrate weddings mostly during the Autumn harvest. Their weddings involve two baptized members of the church who come together not only to start a family but also to continue their faith. An Amish individual can only marry another Amish person and not anyone outside the community.
Additionally, the Amish observe certain traditions when one of their family members dies. They do not mourn so much during burials since their focus is not on the present world but on the world to come.
What kind of culture is Amish?
Amish is a unique Christian subculture. Though many people refer to them as Pennsylvania Dutch, research shows they are not of Dutch ancestry. They came from Swiss Germany. The Amish are committed to preserving their cultural heritage and are fluent in German and English.
While the largest group of the Amish is the Old Order, there is also the New Order Amish. The Old Order Amish is made up of 40 subgroups. However, the subgroups differ in how they apply their faith principles daily. Though there are certain variations between the Old Order Amish subgroups, most conduct religious services at home and wear plain clothing. On the other hand, some scholars suggest that the New Order Amish is a subgroup of the Old Order Amish.
What is the Amish religion?
The Amish religion refers to the belief in God by this Christian group. They believe that the Bible and other written sources shape their spirituality. Though they live differently from other Christians, they have similar religious beliefs. They take turns holding church services at their homes and are led by deacons and ministers.
They show their dedication to the Christian Faith by engaging in Holy Communion. They believe in the resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28:1-10) The Amish dedicate Sundays to worship Christ and take a break from any form of manual labor. Instead of focusing on teaching formal theological doctrines, the Amish are more concerned about practicing their faith.
They seek to follow Jesus’ teaching in their everyday lives by forgiving and loving their enemies.
They emphasize the Biblical teaching of mutual aid and view things like commercial insurance coverage as undermining their dependence on the church community and faith in God. They keenly follow James 1:27, which urges one to remain unstained from the world. Though the Amish believe in baptism, they do not practice infant baptism. Instead, they sprinkle water on adult people during baptism rather than immersing them in water like other religious groups.
The Amish value submission to God’s will. The Amish protect their conservative values as they believe salvation is a daily experience. They believe one can lose salvation if they stray from the right path.
Is Amish a cult?
No. Amish is not a cult. Unlike a cult in which one charismatic leader often leads, the Amish do not follow one leader. They have a group of elders that make decisions following a consensus. The Amish follow the basic principles of the Christian faith.
Though the Amish maintain a secretive life-like cult, they are not a cult because they are a Christian group that shares the same beliefs as other Christians. Unlike cult members, the Amish have the freedom to leave or join the Amish community.
Is being Amish considered a lifestyle?
Yes. Being Amish is considered a lifestyle. They mainly focus on simple living and spend most of their time on farms in rural settings. They are mostly known for their cuisine, food, and carpentry work. They construct their furniture and homes.
Since they do not use cars, their main means of transport is a horse buggy. They also refrain from using electricity and have a strict code of dress. Boys and men wear black socks, broad fall trousers, straight-cut coats, dark suits, and black hats. On the other hand, women and girls wear long dresses, bonnets, stockings, black shoes, and shawls and have to cover their shoulders.
As part of their lifestyle, the Amish follow certain gender roles. The Amish women handle domestic tasks while the men provide shelter and food for their families. Instead of going to regular schools, the Amish people have private schools where they teach up to eighth grade. Most of the Amish people do not engage in elections or military service.
Why is Amish considered a lifestyle and not a religion?
Amish is considered both a lifestyle and a religion. They are considered a religion since they are a Christian sect and obey biblical teachings outlined in the New Testament. The Amish are a religion since they hold church services and have deacons and ministers, just like other religious groups.
On the other hand, the Amish are considered a lifestyle due to their modest way of living. They lead a distinct life in their spiritual ways. They strongly believe the way they choose to live and their religious faith are interdependent. That is why they have a set of values like community, unworldly life, family, and faith. For the Amish, life is spiritual, and they demonstrate their beliefs through their acts of nonresistance, plainness, and discipleship.
Are there any benefits of leading the Amish lifestyle?
Yes. Researchers suggest that though the Amish lifestyle seems restricted, it leads to good health in later life. For instance, the Amish do not use farm equipment in their lands. On the contrary, they do all the work by hand. Their active involvement in manual labor reduces the risk of obesity among the group.
Additionally, the Amish do not smoke or drink alcohol. Studies imply that their lifestyle makes them healthy. The Amish lifestyle also results in strong family bonds. Since the children do not have access to gadgets like phones or TVs, they spend quality time with their parents. The Amish lifestyle also leads to tight communities with shared values. It gives them a sense of belonging. Their children are also taught great values about survival and self-sufficiency without relying on modern technology.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.