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Basics – Why Do the Amish Do That?

Basics – Why Do the Amish Do That?

#1 Why Don’t Amish Use Technology?

The Amish do not see technology as innately evil; however, they do see it as a vehicle that can lead mankind to sinful nature.

Some of the reasons that the Amish avoid technology and modern advancements are due to the following reasons:

  • Family, God, and Community – They believe that cars and planes will take them too far from their homes and loved ones. Prioritizing a closely-knit community that is self-sufficient, they do not want to erode their intimate ties. Even avoiding television and radios means that they can spend more time with family and in the fellowship of worship together.
  • Historical Reverence – Living in a state that is akin to their origin, Amish people exist in a society with rules that were developed in the 1500s, reaffirmed in the 1700s. Opting for a ‘simpler time,’ these are the roots that hold this culture together. They also find great pride in hand-made workmanship and quality craftsmanship; which technology can hinder or mediate too radically for the Amish’s liking.
  • Discouraging Vanity and Possession Dependence – Seeing technology as a means to connect to the outside world, this is precisely what the Amish are seeking to avoid. They do not want to be dependent on any outside source (including power lines, cellular providers, or even government programs such as health insurance). Seeking to be an entirely self-sufficient and self-sustaining community, this cannot be done if they are constantly communicating with the outside world.

Certain communities may petition for the use of minimal technology, and in progressive areas, it is common to see battery-operated lights or an electric piece of equipment that assists them in their work/farming.

Some of the exceptions you may see in progressive areas are:

  • Solar panels
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Lights
  • Diesel generators

But they would avoid any large-scale entity that required an electric power line or anything that connected them to the general public.

Ultimately, they prefer hand tools and their rural lifestyle over a technology-advanced society.

Related Scripture(s):

  • “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.

Related Video(s):

#2 Why Don’t Amish Drive Cars?

There are cases in which Amish people will take cars, but more legalistic communities that prioritize tradition over convenience – may not allow car rides, even in emergencies.

The reasons why Amish people don’t drive or ride in cars are due to the following reasons:

  • They want to remain close to their community
  • Family ties
  • To stay tethered to a simpler time of horse and buggies
  • To stay close to the Church
  • To save on costly investments
  • They believe that traveling far distances tears apart families, communities, and churches

Some will refuse to own a vehicle but have no problem riding in one. Contrarily, other communities forbid even riding as a passenger in a motorized vehicle. It will all depend on the progressiveness of that group.

Amish 365 writes about why Amish people may or may not make exceptions to their rules pertaining to vehicles:

“The reality is that to attend a wedding or funeral far away; horse-and-buggy is impractical.  So the Amish will hire non-Amish drivers to take them.  This can get pretty expensive and actually can offset the savings of not having car payments and insurance, depending on how many times an Amish person needs to hire a driver throughout the course of the year.  In some smaller generally more conservative Amish settlements hiring a driver is still a relative rarity.  In larger Amish areas it can be a weekly occurrence. In these communities the Amish often maintain a list of “Amish taxis”, non-Amish drivers who make their living driving Amish people around. While outsiders may roll their eyes or whisper “hypocrisy” at this practice, it still – in the eyes of the Amish – beats owning a car.  By hiring a driver an Amish person can at least exercise a measure of control over how much the outside world encroaches on their existence.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Luke 12:33-34.

Related Video(s):

#3 Why Don’t Amish Dolls Have Faces?

If you’ve ever seen an Amish doll, you will notice that it does not have a face or distinctive characteristics.

The reasons why Amish dolls (for small female children) do not have faces are:

  • This keeps them uniform
  • This discourages vanity
  • This signifies a lack of prioritizing one’s appearance
  • This helps the child to use their imagination
  • This allows the child to project themselves onto the doll
  • This illustrates that all people are the same, in the eyes of God
  • This creates a persona that is free of identity
  • This reinforces the notion of equality in the community, as well as the human race
  • This discourages any idolatry or biblical sanction for improperly representing humans
  • This affirms modesty
  • This is tradition

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2
  • “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8.

Related Video(s):

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#4 Why Do Amish Wear Black?

Amish styles are relatively simple and discourage vanity.

Some of the reasons that Amish wear black, gray, and neutral tones are:

  • Function
  • Non-vanity
  • Uniformness
  • Modesty
  • Biblical
  • Discourages envy
  • Tradition
  • Simpler to maintain/wash

However – Amish people do not only wear black. But they do prescribe to a modest, humble, and simplistic style of attire.

Lighter-colors are used for:

  • Children
  • Celebrations
  • Summertime

White is used to represent:

  • Wedding days
  • Purity
  • One’s relationship to God

Women may wear light shades of pink or lavender. Prints are not common, and women will mostly wear solid-colors or a checkered pattern of overlapped lines.

Amish America addresses the Amish’s plain choice of clothing, stating:

“Another part of the appeal of Plain clothing is its simplicity and practicality.  Wearing simple clothes reduces the choices that need to be made on a daily basis.  Unadorned clothing in solid colors is simpler to make and maintain.  While some may see this as removing the spice from life, Amish appreciate the simplicity.  At the same time, small distinctions may be made, as some Amish may choose finer or more attractive fabrics.”

Pinterest- Amish Fashion

Related Scripture(s):

  • “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.

Related Video(s):

#5 Why Do the Amish Allow Bed Courtship?

Bed courtship defined as:

“Bundling, or tarrying, is the traditional practice of wrapping two people in a bed together, usually as a part of courting behavior. When used for courtship, the aim is to allow intimacy without sexual intercourse.”

Certain Amish communities may allow bed courtship, but most of the rules will be as follows:

  • Two may hold hands before marriage
  • Two may kiss before marriage
  • Some may even go further than kissing before marriage
  • But NO COUPLE may have sex before marriage
  • Dates will entail time with family and trips to Church
  • You may eat together as courtship
  • Certain groups may allow bed courtship, in which they get in bed with clothes on
  • Teens that do this are not allowed to touch, only talk
  • Courtship usually occurs in late adolescence, age 18-21, sometimes as early as 14-16
  • The man is the leader of the house and primary breadwinner

Some Amish communities will even place a board between the couple. Bed courtship is a tradition seen as outdated by most but can still be used in some conservative groups.

Bed Courtship – Amish – American Upbeat

Related Scripture(s):

  • “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

Related Video(s):

#6 Why Are Amish Buggies Black?

Often the ‘why’ is difficult to pin down with the Amish community. But their justifications often link back to tradition, honor, modesty, God, and simplicity. Avoiding vanity, black is the most common color because it is subtle, discreet, easy to clean, and humble.

The five most common colors of Amish buggies are:

  • BlackThe most common, used by Buchanan County, IowaRenno Amish of central PennsylvaniaDover, Delaware churches, and the Kokomo, Indiana affiliation.
  • Gray – Evolved from historically being half yellow/half gray in the 1870s. A quote from Plain Buggies says, ‘The yellow of the oilcloth has disappeared, the lead color having taken it’s place.’ Some communities still keep the yellow-tops to their buggies to keep with tradition.
  • Brown – Neutral and simple.
  • White – Purity, modest, and clean.
  • Yellow – Communities like Pennsylvania’s Big Valley settlement use yellow-topped buggies. The two theories are that the white buggies would turn yellow over time, leading them to paint it a light-yellow shade in the first place; and secondly, that the pale yellow tone was used in history.
Amish America

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Luke 12:33-34

Related Video(s):

#7 Why Are Amish Stores Closed on Thursdays?

Amish businesses are often closed on Thursdays due to the following reasons:

  • Weddings typically occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays
  • Least-busy day of farming
  • Considered a day of rest
  • Day to prepare for the week/weekend (which is not spent resting like typical Americans, Amish people tend to work nearly every day)

It is difficult to pin this down because:

  • This Amish community mentions things closed on Sundays
  • This Amish community mentions things closed on Mondays
  • And every community has their own way of doing things
Amish Family

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” – Mark 6:31.

Related Video(s):

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#8 Why Are Amish So Strict?

Known for their strict rules involving dress, church attendance, technology, work, and general lifestyle – The Amish could easily be considered more stringent than the typical Christian community.

Having separated themselves from the general society of modern advancements, Amish people seek to live a humble life that is self-sufficient and autonomous of worldly establishments. With many social orders to keep their way of life in tact, some of the reasons that the Amish are so strict are:

  • To preserve tradition
  • To remain the same
  • The remain in existence
  • To protect their people
  • To keep the community united
  • To prevent anyone from traveling far away/never returning
  • To display modesty
  • To upkeep the heavy workload of a self-sustaining society
  • To create a sense of uniformness
  • To show that all are the same in the eyes of God
  • To discourage narcissism
  • To protect from outside influences
  • To prevent sinful nature (even birth control is seen as immoral)
  • To respect gender roles
  • To honor the right to remain silent (during birth without medication or pain relievers, women are not supposed to make a sound)
  • To maintain their status quo
  • To instill discipline

Ultimately, everything they do is to preserve their history, family, and way of life. They believe these are the correct way of doing things, and that is why they remain so steadfast in their strictness.

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” – Proverbs 13:24.
  • “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24.

Related Video(s):

#9 Why Are Amish Shunned?

If a person is shunned, they have done something that violates the rules, doctrines, orders, and lifestyle guides of the Amish community. As a social mechanism used to punish someone who violates the rules of a small community, shunning is a form of exilement, excommunication, and rejection.

The reasons why someone may be shunned include:

  • They exhibited sinful behavior – Point blank.
  • This sinful behavior was seen as a threat to the rest of the community
  • They got a divorce (against the rules of Amish community and considered ‘adultery’ due to their interpretation of the bible)
  • They didn’t want to go to Church every Sunday
  • They would not stop using technology after several warnings
  • They wouldn’t stop drinking or being tempted by substance, wouldn’t seek help
  • They would not adapt to the daily rules and guidelines for life in the Amish community
  • To preserve the Amish Church, the sanctity of the community, and their standards
  • To turn away ‘bad sheep’ or those that could tempt others into sin 

Meant to be a final resort, shunning will be used when all other methods of fixing the bad behavior have failed. There is typically a unanimous vote required of the community to excommunicate a person, and then, no one may speak to them again.

A person may be allowed to return to the Church if excommunicated, but only if they make sincere amends, rectify the behavior, and smoothly return to the fold of their well-ordered lifestyle.

PBS – Amish Shunned

Related Scripture(s):

  • “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” – 1 Corinthians 5:11.
  • “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,” – 2 John 1:10

Related Video(s):

#10 Why Are Amish Pacifists?

The Amish are exempt from Military participation; not only because they do not believe in social security of government assistance (meaning they do not have a social security card, drivers license, or form of identification that they would require to join the military), but also because – They are pacifists.

Amish people avoid angry words, violence, going to war, or even studying law/going to court.

The reasons that they are peace-keeping pacifists are:

  • They are traditionalist Christians
  • To live as Jesus did
  • They are following the word of their God, to love thy Neighbor, and ‘do not murder,’
  • Proverbs says that cruel men hurt themselves
  • They have been persecuted, murdered, and victims of great violence in history; this is why they left Europe and escaped to Pennsylvania, for peace
  • Non-resistance is deeply-rooted in their identity
  • To be non-conventional; separate from the sin of general mankind
  • To teach their children decent morals, instill goodness
  • It’s simply who they are – Kind, hard-working, peaceful people
Lancaster, PA Website

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
  • “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12
  • “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” – Proverbs 11:17

Related Video(s):

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