The Amish Culture

Essay by Preci28University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Often described as The Plain People or people that are stuck in time, the Amish are often misunderstood as a religious culture here in the United States. The Amish people are just one example of a fascinating religious community found in today's society. "Their lifestyle, based on religious beliefs, is a separate culture in today's contemporary society." (Kraybill-Enchant, 3). The Amish reside in more than 200 communities around the US and Canada. In the United States, Ohio has the largest settlement of Amish in the United States; with Pennsylvania ranking second and Indiana third. (Shenberger). "The Amish are not easy to get acquainted with because their religious beliefs require separation from the non-Amish world." (Wise). The most significant aspects of the Amish philosophy are their simple culture that is composed of a pursuit of education, hard work, and allegiance to religion.

The Amish are a very conservative Christian faith group and can trace their history back to the time of the Anabaptist movement during the Protestant Reformation in Europe around the 1500's.

"The term Anabaptist first started out as a nickname that meant "rebaptizer", because this group rejected the idea of infant baptism." (Inge). It was felt that an infant could not have the knowledge of good or evil and could not have sin. With these beliefs the Anabaptists were seen as a threat to religious and social institutions throughout Europe and were persecuted. "Some four thousand Anabaptists were killed in the decades after 1512." (Nolt, 13). In the Netherlands, Menno Simons became a leader and advocate for Anabaptism. Many Anabaptists came to be known as Mennonites. The Amish division came about as a result of particular reforms by Jacob Amman and branches out from the Mennonites to form the Amish religious culture. Amman was born in Switzerland and later...