Commonly Asked Question About The Amish

Many people visit Lancaster County every year to see the Amish, but they still have many questions about the Amish way of life. Here are some answers to commonly asked question about the Amish.

Can anyone join the Amish?

Yes, but it very rare that an outsider will join. If they do they must be willing to leave their old life behind and meet the requirements of the Amish church.

Are people allowed to leave?

Yes, but not without consequences, if some who has been baptized into the church chooses to leave or refuses to obey the rules of the church they are “excommunicated” or “shunned.” Because of their Anabaptist roots, the Amish believe that the New Testament taught the church to discipline its members; meaning that if a member of the church is living in sin and refuses to repent, that person should be shunned by the church in hopes that they will see their error, return to the church and confess their wrong. Shunning varies depending on family and church, but usually involves restrictions on social interaction between the church members and the person and/or family being shunned.

Why don’t the Amish use modern technology?

The Amish firmly believe that God calls his followers to be separate from the world, as it says in the Bible “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) They believe that this means that the materialistic desires of the rest of the world should not be a part of their culture. Also, one of the biggest reasons they don’t use modern technology is because they understand that these new devices do not add any lasting fulfillment to life. Plus, a simpler lifestyle, such as the use of horses and buggies for transportation, allows the Amish to maintain a close-knit community.

Is the Amish population disappearing?

No, in fact it is quite the opposite, the Amish population has almost doubled over the past 20 years due to large families (with an average of 5 or more children in a family) and high rates of children staying in the Amish church when they grow up (About 85% of Amish youth choose to be baptized into the church)

Would they join the army if America went to war?

The Amish believe that by living a peaceful life and resisting violence they are following the example of Jesus Christ. They also strongly believe in “turning the other cheek” as Jesus said to do in the bible, because the Bible states that Jesus did not resist suffering and persecution, the Amish also try to mirror him in this fact. But this does not mean that they will not help the war effort, while the military draft was still in effect many of the Amish found other ways to help their country by working in hospitals or some other form of community service.

What language do the Amish speak?

Almost all Amish speak a language known most commonly as “Pennsylvania Dutch”, a dialect of German. They are also fluent in English therefore making them bilingual (people who can fluently speak 2 or more languages)

 

- Marilyn Stoltzfus,          

Daughter of R&G Services founder and owner.