Monday, 1 November 2010

The Amish

Amish, also known as Amish Mennonite, church fellowships are christian religious dominations that form a very traditional subgrouping of Mennonite churches. The Amish are well known for their simple, back to basics lifestyle and reluctance to adopt modern convience. Their lifestyle is governed by order, however you cannot give a simple outline of their lives as each group is different.

Current active Amish groups are the Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches, split off from the old Order Amish in Pennsylvania. They are the most liberal Amish group, they meet in churches, use automobiles, tractors and electricity. There was reported to be 8,399 adult memebers in one hundred and thirty eight congregations, in 1996. Next is the Conservative Mennonite Conference, they use meeting houses, Sunday schools and english language services, they are loacted mainly in the mid west. Also there is the Evangelical Mennonite Church, originally known as the Egly Amish, they stress "regeneration, seperation and nonconformity to the world". In 1997, they were reported to have 4,348 adult members in thirty churches. Finally there is the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church, their congregations are very conservative. Transportation is by horse and buggy, men are required to grow beards, but mustaches are not allowed. Marraige outside the faith is forbidden, they meet in each other's homes every other sunday for worship. In 1995, there were around 30,000 adult members in the U.S and 900 in Canada. 

Approximatley, the current total of adult members of all Amish groups is about 180,000 across twenty two states. Their choice to be excluded from the rest of the society is that they are "god's own people", and not being "conformed to this world". As time has passed, pressure has been felt to conform to the ever growing society, however Amish are nonresistant and rarely defend themselves physically or in court. Some groups do get involved with society, for example by choosing to vote, however they are still outside the ideological  'norm' of mainstream America. They do not represent the modern, twenty first century view of America, they conform to a different, more old style set of values and beliefs. However, they do not harm anyone or American society, they simply choose to live their lives their own way and not conform to the "normal" view of America.       

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