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Amish Religion -tightly knit religious and ethnic group

Amish Religion
Where Did the Amish Get Their Start?

Tracing their roots back to the Anabaptist movement of the 16th century, the Amish people are a tightly knit religious and ethnic group. An early leader in the Anabaptist religion, Menno Simmons began the Mennonite sect. Later, Jacob Amman started the Amish faith when he felt the Mennonites were drifting from Simmons' teachings.

The Amish detest pride and teach humility in all areas of life. This teaching is at the core of Amish beliefs and what separates them from modern society. They believe that modern electricity, automobiles and most other modern technologies promote one person above another and decreases an individuals need for community. They also believe in simplicity in lifestyle which is put into practice in their homes, food and clothing. Their religious beliefs are based on the teachings of Christ. Their interpretation of Christ's teachings include adult baptism and the shunning of excommunicated members until they return to the fold. A FAQ page from the Pennsylvania Dutch County Welcome Center describes their beliefs this way:

"Both Mennonites and Amish believe in one God eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-17). We believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died on the cross for the sins of the world. We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and also empowers believers for service and holy living. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, a free gift bestowed by God on those who repent and believe.

They are taught to be separate from the outside world, citing scriptures such as "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers." (II Corinthians 6:14), "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." (II Corinthians 6:17) and "...Be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2). Even within the Amish communities, there is separation. More liberal Amish groups such as the Beachy Amish, who drive automobiles, are widely seen as non-Amish by other Amish groups and are considered outsiders. Smaller differences between groups such as how many suspenders to wear or how many pleats to put in a bonnet are considered minimal and inter-marrying between the two groups are allowed.

The Amish are pacifists and shun anything military. Many groups don't allow buttons because of their original use by the military. For this same reason, men do not wear moustaches. They teach instead that their non-violence could lead others to believe in Christ, although they do not actively proselytize. The Amish tend to be kind-hearted, simple people who work hard, serve others in their community and enjoy spending time together.

The very conservative Christian group which broke away from the larger Anabaptist movement in the Alsace region in France during the late 17th century. Most Amish now live in the U.S. and Canada -- largely in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They isolate themselves from the larger American/Canadian culture.