The Amish have a distinctive culture

Did you know that the Amish when they are in a relationship would bundle? This means to sleep with your clothes on (strange, I know). In this essay I will be trying to find out if the Amish way of life leads to a better way of life than our own. The Amish can trace their religious heritage back to the Swiss Anabaptists during 16^th century Europe. During this time Europe as a continent was undergoing a major religious change, which eventually lead to a change (division) in the church. Before the division in the church in the 16^th century the Catholic Church was the only Christian faith practised in Western Europe.One of the reasons for this was because of the religion of the monarchy at the time. This began to change when Martin Luther lead a revolt against the Catholic Church and Henry VIII tried to enforce Protestantism over England, this was commonly known as the Church of England.

The revolt lead by Martin Luther caused a reformation of the Protestant religion, this caused Protestantism to be a new branch of Christianity. Within the Protestant religion there were a group of Swiss Protestant pastors who were unhappy because they were to much like the original Catholic Church, especially the continuation of baptising infants.The reason they disagreed with baptising infants was because they believed that it was wrong to baptise someone who wasn’t mature enough to make the decision themselves.

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In 1525 they left the main Protestant groups and formed the Anabaptists. The Anabaptists would go to people’s houses and rebaptise them. This is where the name Anabaptists comes from (re-baptisers). The Anabaptist movement spread throughout Europe, especially in Germany and Holland, but they were persecuted for their beliefs. The leader of the Anabaptists in Alsace founded the Amish, his name was Jacob Amman.The reason the Amish split from the Anabaptists was because excommunicated members were only cast out of the church, but Jacob Amman wanted them to be cast out of social life as well. They split from the Anabaptists in 1693, the Amish were continually persecuted for their beliefs so they were forced to move to North America in search of a new home. The Amish have a very distinctive culture, this can be seen by looking at the many different aspects of their culture one of these includes the way they dress.

The Amish retained their dress styles that were common during the 16^th and 18^th centuries.There has been a gradual ress change, so that dress varies in religions, but they have not adopted the dress styles and fashion of American society. The Amish aim to be plain and their clothing shows this very clearly. The reason the Amish aim to be plain can be traced back to the bible, the Sermon on the Mount. “Happy are those who are humble, they will receive what god has promised” Matthew 5 v5. The men within the Amish culture wear a suit with black being the predominate colour, even children have to wear this, the women wear dresses or blouses and a black bonnet. The Amish have dressed this way since Jacob Amman founded the Amish in 693.

In some ways the clothing they wear can be related to the Gender roles they are a custom to. As the Amish heritage can be traced back to the 16^th century so can their language. The Amish are a multi-cultural race and have a multi-cultural language, at present the Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch, High German and English, but when they were first formed they spoke a mixture of French, Italian, German and Dutch.

The Amish refrain from using colloquialism (slang), anyone heard using this would be accused of blasphemy. As they do not use anyone modern appliances they do not know any modern words.The Amish have been persecuted for their beliefs throughout their history, this caused them to move to North America. Even to this day they are persecuted for what they believe but they choose to ignore it as this is what God wants, “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what god requires; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them” Matthew 5 v10. When someone from an Amish community travels to a modern city they will normally become subject to some form of religious racism, but they are pacifists and are not allowed to retaliate in any way even if the situation becomes physical they will imply take the abuse.

Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell you all sorts of evil lies against you because you are my followers” Matthew 5v11. If a member of the Amish society were to retaliate in any way they would be shunned from the church and community as they would be considered a lost soul, (“thou shall not kill”) sentenced to a life of misery and torture in the burning pits of hell. “I you, then, that you will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees in doing what god requires” Matthew5 v20Within Amish society there are separate gender roles. The men will do all the hard labour and farm labour, the women will do most of the house work and will generally slave around after the men. During their time of need the Amish as a community will pull together and assist each other so they become more efficient, whilst then men carry out the task the women will provide beverages and food. The roots of this behaviour can be traced back to the bible, genesis book -the fall. As the Amish prefer to be separated from modern life they tend to live in small communities closed away from the modern way of life.The only way you are able to take a look at an Amish community is to go on a guided tour.

Just because the Amish allow tourists to come into their community it doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with it. When a tour takes place the Amish always ask prefer it if cameras and similar appliances can be kept away, the reason for this is because when their photo is taken they feel like a part of their soul is being taken away from them. As the Amish don’t have any modern appliances their way of living is very simple, they wont use any modern farming equipment so jobs on a farm can be very strenuous and tiring.Their transport is also a visible sign of their reluctance to use modern technology, they will usually travel by horse and cart. The reason they do not use modern technology can also be traced from the Bible, The Sermon on the Mount “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what god has promised” Matthew 5v5. Another reason the Amish don’t use any modern equipment is because god always intended for man to carry out his own work, not to get machines to do it for him. Marriage is considered a sacred ceremony and means a lot to the Amish.Before a member of the Amish society may get married he must first get o know the women of his choice.

He will normally attend some sort of class with his fianci?? e, before he goes to this class a member of his family will help make him look smart and well dressed. Eventually the man will go to the women’s house and get her attention, once the women lets the man in they will talk in the living room, then they will proceed to the bedroom where they will ‘Bundle’ Bundling means to sleep with someone whilst you have your clothes on.Once they are ready they will be married by one of the Elders in the community, Elders are the old aged and wisest members of the community they are ighly respected throughout the society. Marriage is considered highly important amongst the Amish. Great Britain’s culture is extremely different from the Amish. Great Britain has become more secular, for instance going to church on a Sunday is now considered only done by true believers in the Christian faith, and it isn’t the norm anymore.

Throughout our history we have been invaded by many different cultures like the Romans and the Vikings. These invaders have helped to shape what religion we believe in, but because we have had so many different beliefs imposed on us through out our history we are now a multi-cultural race. Within Great Britain there are no Amish settlements, this is because they have no ancestors or past settlements here. The reason you will not find any Amish here is mainly because of our use of modern technology and our thirst for money and material objects.We are constantly trying to over power each other by accumulating more wealth and land than our rivals, God did not intend for this to be what drives us on through life. Also if we cannot get what we want we use brute force to get what we want, “Happy are those who are merciful to others; god will be merciful to them! ” Matthew5 v7.

The division of labour in the modern world is a lot different to the Amish. Man and women are now roughly equal, although within the household the women is usually the predominate housekeeper.Also the ‘Law’ governs our lives, the law is meant to enforce us and to protect us but in all honesty it is basically keeping us from showing the world what we feel. Another sign of Great Britain becoming more secular is our belief that the pope is the major religious figure in the world, when in actual fact his was not sent by god to perform his teachings he has basically blind folded the world from the actual truth. Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them! ” Matthew 5v3.Generally the way we dress is influenced by what is ‘cool’ at the time.

Our friends, relatives and also Television influence the clothes that we wear. Our friends judge us and cause us to change what we wear through peer pressure, our relatives are seen simply to be helping us make the right choice and television plays a major role in deciding what clothes will be the next ‘cool’ thing to wear. For example if Sarah Michelle gellar were to wear a short blue and pink top and then Jennifer Anniston was to wear the same, people would see that as the cool thing to be seen wearing.There are more differences between our culture and the Amish culture than similarities, this can be seen in the way we dress, work, live and generally work with one another. Great Britain and the rest of the world is becoming more secular every day, we are beginning to only believe what we can prove is true and what we cant prove is simply a lie, we are starting to lose faith within ourselves. Another difference is our will to stay alive, without this we would all probably be dead, but the Amish don’t mind if they die, they will ee it as if they are going to heaven, Gods kingdom.

Our lives also evolves around making money and becoming well known and famous, whilst the Amish devote their life to god and his beliefs. I am unable to answer the question of do the Amish beliefs lead to a better way of life than my own as I have been raised in a world with rules and boundaries and a family which has nearly thrown out religion entirely. I cannot possibly say which way of life is better as I will always be biased towards my own, But what I can say is that each way o life has it’s on advantages and disadvantages.

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