At theology school, we had to learn about diverse churches and communities within the Christian faith. One group that I gained a particular interest in was the modern Amish people. As part of my study, I got the opportunity to live in one of their settlements, and for two months, I learned so much about them. Since I teach religious studies, I think it’s important that I educate my students on how they live, especially concerning technology. Many of my students think modern Amish people are still fixated on traditional rural living, but that is not the case. To start my lesson, I asked them a simple question, which I knew I had all the resources and knowledge to answer: what are Amish that use technology called?
Amish people that use technology are called New Order Amish. They have embraced technological advancements that will improve their living standards without jeopardizing their faith and traditional customs. For instance, they use telephones, farming equipment, and electricity.
Join me in this article as I look at how the New Order Amish community uses modern technology and why. In this piece, I shall examine how the New Order differs from the older church using helpful resources and relevant examples.
What Do the New Order Amish Think About Technology and Electricity?
The New Order Amish community thinks using technology and electricity is permissible. This is one of the major differences between the New Order Amish and the Old Order Amish. While the Old Amish are extremely conservative in their use of technology and appliances, the New Order Amish believe that using electricity, mobile devices, the internet, and modern farming technology such as tractors is allowed even in the homestead. According to them, these advancements do not undermine the basic family unit, traditions, and culture.
Why Do the New Order Amish Permit the Use of Technology?
According to Donald Kraybill, professor and co-author of ‘The Amish,’ the New Order Amish permit the use of technology because they believe it is a tool that can be used to benefit their way of life. For instance, it may be used to maximize agricultural productivity. Even though traditional Amish communities encourage manual labor, simplicity, and traditional craftsmanship, the New Order recognize technology and electricity as instruments that can improve and complement their culture. The Amish use of technology is limited by some factors, however. For instance, the devices or appliances must not be harmful to the environment or wasteful. So, the use of pesticides and fossil fuels is impermissible. According to their community guidelines, technology should also be used in moderation.
How Are the New Order Amish Different from The Old Order Amish?
The Old and New Orders of the Amish people have had different views on many subjects ever since the two groups split in the 1960s. Aside from their respective stances on technology use, here are some other examples of their differences:
- The New Order Amish believe in salvation through grace and being born again, while the Old Order does not. They trust in salvation by works. The New Order Amish are of the faith that once they are born again, they shall go to Heaven. Alternatively, the Old Order Amish take this as prideful thinking and believe we can only hope to make it to Heaven.
- The Old Order Amish community is more conservative in appearance, while the New Order Amish people have more liberal dress codes. To illustrate, the Old Amish stick to neutral-colored clothes, trimmed beards, and brimmed hats. New Order Amish followers can wear brighter colors and experiment with different head cover styles.
- The New Order Amish strictly prohibit the use of tobacco and alcohol, while the Old Order do not. Surprisingly, the New Order Amish are stricter on this matter than the Old Order Amish, who do not expressly forbid indulging in tobacco and alcohol.
- Shunning happens when someone leaves the Old Order church, while this is not practiced among the New Order Amish people. This is a severe punishment given to those who leave the community, commit adultery, or marry a non-Amish person. The New Order Amish do not, however, do this.
- The New Order Amish do not practice Rumspringa, while the Old Order church does. Rumspringa is the period when a teenage Amish person is allowed to choose either to officially follow the faith or experiment with worldly activities. The New Order Amish do not permit its youth to go through this stage. Instead, they are saved at a young age.
Where Are the New Order Amish Mostly Located?
According to data, the New Order Amish are mostly located in Ohio, U.S.A. The largest Amish settlement can be found in Holmes County, Ohio, with a population of approximately 37,770 children and adults. The New Order Amish also reside in around eleven other states in America, including Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, New York, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan. Outside the U.S.A., they are also in Ontario, Canada.
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.