The Amish people of common folklore are always portrayed as riding a horse and buggy, dressing in what appears to be period costumes and living a very simple life. What are the history and practices of Amish beliefs that make them so interesting today?
Amish Communities Are As Varied as the Individuals That Create Them
The Ohio State University warns that even though the history and practices of Amish beliefs serve as a common thread, Amish communities vary one from another. It is a common misconception that all Amish people are entirely alike. This is simply not correct. There are appreciable differences in the tolerance for modern amenities and interactions with community outsiders, as well as the strictness of some beliefs.
History and Practices of Amish Beliefs Date Back to Swiss Anabaptists
Christian by faith, these particular belief communities were built by rebels who saw both Catholicism and Protestantism as fatally flawed. Yet even Swiss Anabaptists eventually lost their way and one Jacob Amman – in 1690 – led a group of zealously devoted Alsace Anabaptists in the creation of a new faith community.
Religious discipline was front and center with respect to importance. Of course, once the Amish settled and dispersed in the New World, the various communities soon adopted their own traditions and ways of doing things. Today most Amish communities self-identify as “Old Order, New Order, Andy Weaver, and Swartzentruber.”
The Numbers of Amish People Double Every 20 Years
It is a well known fact that Amish families are rather large. Estimates dating back to 1996 suggest that there are approximately 267 Amish communities in North America. The number of Amish people is estimated to be about 150,000 at this time; this figure is expected to double in 20 years and then again after another two decades. Even so, plenty of Amish families lose adult children to other faith groups and secular America.
Bilingual Training Marks a Childhood Education
The language of faith is German. It is the language used during religious ceremonies. At home, Amish people might converse in Pennsylvanian Dutch. When in the presence of outsiders, they speak English.
The Decision Not to Own a TV Has Only a Little to Do with Religion
The Rural Life Center explains that the oft-reported absence of a television set in Amish households has next to nothing to do with religion but instead the value system these communities hold dear. Parents realize that inviting a TV into the home is likely going to result in less time spent with children or members of the community, which makes it unsuitable for their chosen lifestyles.