#1 Are Amish Christian?
Yes, Amish are Christians but considered to be a highly traditionalistic form of Protestant Christianity, often influenced by German, Alsatian, or Anabaptist roots.
Following the bible and using scripture in their worship practice, they are a form of Christianity that most resembles the denomination of Mennonites.
As a very strict form of Christianity, distinctions that set the Amish apart include:
- They do not have private access to electricity
- They do not use technology and outwardly reject it in the home
- They abstain from birth control and often have 6 to 7 children on average, with their numbers drastically increasing from between the year 2000 to 2017.
- They can only be baptized after reaching full maturity and adulthood; Amish do not support infant baptisms
- They uphold a belief in non-violence and pacifism
- They use dolls without faces and toys of little embellishments, protecting children from vanity and external validations or superficialities
- They don’t typically own musical instruments, sometimes using the voice as their only form of self-expression.
- Dancing can be forbidden and considered provocative
- Their schooling ends at eighth grade and they see minimal practical value in grades beyond this
- They do not evangelicalize or attempt to convert others to their beliefs. As a private community, their strict guidelines make joining quite difficult
· “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18.
· “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
- Who Are the Amish? Visit Amish Country, Discover Lancaster; Published May 2nd, 2011.
#2 Are Amish German?
Although there are Pennsylvania Germans and Amish are descended from early German immigrants, most Amish people do not speak the German language. The native tongue of the Amish is self-labeled ‘Pennsylvania Dutch,’ which blends English, Dutch, German, and distinction that create a unique meld of vernaculars.
Some say that a German would easily be able to converse with a Pennsylvanian Dutch; others say they wouldn’t understand each other. Being that dialects change from region to region, it may depend on who’s communicating.
Ultimately, there is a strong German influence, but it is not the German language. You will notice phrases such as the pronunciation of ‘decisions,’ as ‘dezisions,’ and similar accent patterns. But that being said, German is not the best description of Pennsylvania Dutch.
Despite having some German and European influence, the Amish are not inherently German.Their Pennsylvania Dutch language is said to be an evolved blend of English, Dutch, and German, but historically, they were immigrants of Switzerland, Germany, and France.
For a bit of historical context on this – After splitting from the Mennonites in 1692, Amish paved their own religious pathway and escaped persecution in Europe. Leaving Switzerland in 1693, their leader was a man by the name of Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became later known as Amish. Arriving in Pennsylvania in the 1730s, the Amish then sought to create roots by finding land to farm.
- “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” – Isaiah 50:4.
- Dialect Blog – Video on Amish Dialect; Published by BBC on September 28th, 2011.
#3 Are Amish Quakers?
No, Amish and Quakers are distinct and separate cultures/belief systems.
The Amish and Quakers are often conflated due to their undeniable similarities. Both being peace-seeking Christians that live minimalistic lives of simplicity, it is easy to commingle the two.
Some of the differences that individualize these denominations are their beliefs in:
- Amish has priests; Quakers do not
- Amish believe in separation from a fallen world; Quakers do not
- Amish do not allow women to speak in church nor be in a role of authority; Quakers do not have these rules and find both man and woman to be spiritual beings and equals
- Quakers are more Calvinistic than Amish (still disregarding pre-destination)
- Quakers are typically more liberal than Amish
- Quakers do not use communion or baptisms typically; Amish are very strong believers in baptisms and find this to be a central pillar of devotion to God. A Quaker would use less outwardly public displays of worship, while Amish may use community-based worship techniques
- Quakers may admit the possibility of an open-ended interpretation of the bible, while the Amish may be less willing to discuss eternal assurance or the afterlife
- “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38
- Are Quakers Amish? – Quakerspeak; Published July 17th, 2014
#4 Are Amish Mormon?
No, Amish and Mormons are two isolated denominations.
Perhaps the largest factor is that Mormons cohabitate with the general public (although congregating in Salt Lake City, UT), live a relatively normal life with technology, cars, and modern amenities.
Comparatively, Amish separate from the general public, live a life disconnected from modern amenities and refuse to co-mingle with mainstream American Christianity.
Although they are both peaceful Protestant Christian faiths that share some theological beliefs, they have a plethora of differences between them, including but not limited to:
- Amish avoid technology and modern conveniences; Mormons do not
- Amish women must wear head coverings; Mormons do not have this rule
- Amish women must wear dresses of solid colors; Mormons do not have this rule
- Amish men wear full beards commonly; Mormons do not have this tradition
- Amish were descended from the 16th-17th century Anabaptist movement; Mormonism was formed through mainstream Christianity
- Mormons believe they are the literal children of God and can become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” in the afterlife (Romans 8:16-17); Amish do not think they are Gods
There are many larger aspects which could be discussed, but irrefutably, these religions are unique from one another.
- “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12.
- Amish America – Amish Latter-day Saints; Three Amish families baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints;’ Published by KSL News; April 18th, 2019.
#5 Are Pennsylvania Dutch Amish?
Yes, the two descriptors of ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ and ‘Amish’ are commonly used together. When someone is referring to the Amish, they may use either phrase to insinuate the same culture.
The Pennsylvania Dutch are not Dutch, but this is the language used by the Amish. As a culture and dialect, the phrase, ‘Pennsylvania Dutch,’ is used to describe those that descended of German immigrants who moved to the United States in the 17th century.
As described by Dutchman News:
“Modern Pennsylvania Dutch varies from community to community and state to state. “Deitschers,” or those who can speak Dutch, can always tell if someone is from out of the area just by their way of speaking. English is often mixed into the vernacular so you may catch a few phrases or words if you listen closely. High German speakers will find it difficult to understand and communicate since the Dutch dialect is so evolved – Swiss and Low German is similar but still quite different.”
The groups that immigrated to Pennsylvania originally included:
- German Reformed
After the Amish arrived in America, there was a swiss-influence in their dialect. Along with the many other religious groups that followed to America, German-speakers would call the group ‘Pennsylvania Dutch.’
The language is different from region to region in Pennsylvania, so it would also depend on who you speak with and what their original dialect is.
- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1.
- Germans Can’t Speak Pennsylvania Dutch’ Published August 19th, 2018.
#6 Are Amish Anabaptist?
Yes, the Amish are Anabaptists. Sometimes called ‘re-baptizers,’ this is a radical protestant tradition that rejects infant baptism.
As an Anabaptist community (which means – to baptize again), they teach that one should put their faith first and explore the word of God before having an official baptism.
The Amish believe that you should be of a mature age to be fully devoted to God. This age should be achieved before you can make the decision to be baptized. The Amish are, therefore, against infant baptisms.
Other anabaptist denominations include:
- The Church of the Brethren
- “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14
- “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5.
- The Spread of Anabaptists – The Story of the Amish; Published October 19th, 2012.
#7 Are Amish Socialists?
Yes, the Amish are sometimes considered a socialistic society and culture that support an equal community that removes class privileges and separation of private ownership in their understated version of conducting business.
Traditionally, the Amish are farmers that put work at the center of their lives. Some are in the business of entrepreneurship in carpentry or farm product distribution, but most of the community members would have a net income ranging between $25,000 to $40,000.
To this degree, Amish are not large-scale enterprisers that are using socialistic-techniques to divvy up the ownership of big companies. Working on a small-magnitude, they would be socialists on a very modest scale.
They could only really be described as socialistic due to their belief that man should not be corrupted by big business or governmental institutions, as well as the belief that hard work should warrant a ‘piece of the pie.’ In many other ways, they could not be considered official nor outright socialists.
Charlie Kirk is quoted as saying:
“If you want to live as a socialist, believe it or not, you can live as a socialist peacefully and effectively here in America, look no further than the Amish.”
Rejecting practices like food stamps, welfare, or certain forms of governmental support – the Amish believe in these socialistic principles:
- The business should be controlled by the people, not government
- The money belongs to the people, not private owners
- They do not pay social security taxes
- “For God shows no partiality.” – Romans 2:11.
- “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34.
- Wall Street Journal – What Democratic Socialism Means in the U.S.; Published March 5th, 2020.
#8 Are Amish Catholic?
No, Amish are not Catholic.
With drastically different histories, each belief system is highly defined and designated from one another’s theology, culture, and lifestyles.
Although they are each very tradition-oriented, they execute their beliefs in God in vastly different ways.
Some of the differences between Amish and Catholics include:
- Population Size – There are 1.32 billion Catholics globally (as of 2018); There are 300,000 Amish globally. Usually referred to as Roman Catholics, this could include the Free Catholic Church, Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, and many other sects.
- Location – Most Amish live in America. Most Catholics live in Brazil, Mexico, Italy, the Philippines, Italy, and America.
- Modern Lifestyle – Catholics are willing to embrace technology, cars, and modern conveniences; Amish are not
- Dress Code – Catholics can wear what they like as long as it’s modest and respectful; Amish must wear solid-colored dresses at floor-length, bonnets, and other antiquated styles that a Catholic would find outdated
- Approach to Religion – Amish are pacificist and peaceful; Catholics have been at the source of war for centuries.
- Rituals – Each partakes in communion, but faith-based ritual tend to be much more elaborate, performative, and intricate in the Catholic Church. The same practice of communion could look quite different in the simple-humbleness of an Amish home, where a community will wash each other’s feet afterward.
- Subgroups – There are many subgroups in each denomination, but the Amish’s are more official than that of the Catholics. Within the Amish community, there are only 4 popular sects.
- Infant Baptisms – Amish are against these; Catholics typically are not. A catholic would fear for the infants life and believe based on scripture that baptism is the only security into heaven. The Amish would not view baptisms this way, seeing them as a form of free-will that should be determined by a conscious and self-aware adult.
There are hundreds of other differentiations we could expand upon, but the most important is the Catholic’s embracement of modern society, compared to the Amish rejection of the contemporary world.
- “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11:26.
- “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18.
- Amish America 5 Common Amish Practices; Uncommon Elsewhere; Published June 12th, 2015.
If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.