Why are the Amish like that?

I don’t get it. Why are they the way they are? Why oppose technology the way they do. I live in Philadelphia and still see them use trains to go to hospitals or the city areas for shopping?

Do they literally believe that God finalized technology/way of doing things between around 1830-1870? How do they justify using wheels? How about shoes? It’s like they are so proud of being “simple”. I don’t get it. Fruits of Protestantism?

It doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think it’s a dogma based sort of thing. The Amish are committed to calmness, composure, placidity and simplicity. The rejection of incessant stimuli and a life of speed helps to calm one’s mind to a point wherein it is possible to actually be alive in the minute one is in. Their lifestyle seems to me to be a great way to put the ego into remission, and lessen the tendency we have toward being distracted by a myriad of disjointed thoughts on a constant basis. Imagine what life could be like without the TV news person telling you about traffic and last night’s homicides, while your blackberry is going off all while you’re eating your breakfast, only to be tossed out into traffic where people are flipping each other off and your employees are on the phone with issues you need to address while you’re still in the car spilling your latte all over yourself. We have set ourselves up for such a life, while asking why the Amish would do otherwise. :slight_smile:

I think their motives are pretty obvious. It is hard to be calm, composed and placid in the environment we have created. Their ability to be clear headed was evident in the way they handled the schoolhouse massacre a few years back. I was so impressed by their handling of the affair.

Your friend

Beautiful post, Sufjon. :slight_smile:

Ask yourself, has all this modern technology made your life any happier and more fulfilling? Or has it become more stressful and chaotic? When it is said and done, perhaps their way of looking at life makes more sense than modern society’s constant rat race.

When I think of the Amish, I think they apply the same principles we use in fasting to their entire lives. We fast in order to clear our hearts, minds, and souls of worldly attachment and leave room for God. I believe the Amish have the same goal except they fast, not only from food, but from as many distracting things as possible.

While I’m happy with my life, I would love to get into a state of mind where I really don’t have a fear of loosing “things” whether it be gadgets, money, and other comforts.

I remember that vividly… I was in awe of their ability to forgive, and still am. It made me feel ashamed of myself. Try as I may, I can’t picture myself ever being that Christlike.

Some Amish use cell phones.

First of all Amish are not necessarily opposed to technology per-se. As I understand it, each community is free to select or reject technology depending on how they determine need, impact, advantage/disadvantage.
This is why you will see them riding on trains, or in automobiles.

A few examples that I have seen or hear tell of near here.

A gasoline powered haybailer is permitted but it is pulled by horses.
An Amish man runs his wood shop using air powered tools, and uses a propane powered engine to supply power.
The telephone is seen as a good thing but not necessary in every home…So a phone booth is set-up (saw this one personally).

They will hire someone with a van to drive them if they need to travel a long distance.

What they try to do is to maintain a simple lifestyle and to remain as independent as possible - Not on the grid so to speak and not tied into the government in any way if they can avoid it.

All of that said, I tend to think of the Amish as the protestant version of monastics. Their lifestyles and attitudes very much mirror the monastic life…except that they are not celibate.


I should like to note here too that I think there is much that we as Catholics could learn, or perhaps recapture, from our Amish brethren.
The sense of community, of strict adherence to the code of Church teaching, of sacrifice for Christ, the Church and each other and of simplicity. Years ago there seemed to be more of a sense of that community - at least there seemed to be in the family and the parish I grew up in.


All of that said, I tend to think of the Amish as the protestant version of monastics. Their lifestyles and attitudes very much mirror the monastic life…except that they are not celibate.

I think that in the time they began, their founders perceived that there was a lack of concern in the Catholic Church for the spiritual well-being of those called to marriage. The Amish, with their limited contact with the “English,” live in the world, but not of the world, to their highest capability.

I think it is amazing that many still speak their dialect of German in their homes and congregations-- after centuries of being here. Again, a way of isolating themselves from the many temptations of modern life.

As pointed out, they aren’t against technology, but against technology for technologies sake.

Whatever arbitrary restrictions or social norms (community rules) etc they establish are not guided by Sacred Tradition/Magesterium anyways. Thus, they are incorrect. There whole don’t bother with other people outside our tribe thing is harmful. It doesn’t work. They are a small community because their ways do not survive non-biological natural selection.

They live in small communities because the rules of their communities require they be small. When they grow over a certain size, they split.

So Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium mandates that you have a TV in every room and drive cars when you could walk and get some exercise instead of burning through the world’s supply of fossil fuels and the ozone layer to boot?


I understood from you OP that you were seeking information on the Amish. After all, you did ask, "Why are the Amish like that?

Your statements above sound more like an “expert pronouncement”.

Which is it? Are you seeking greater understanding do you simply wish to simply state your beliefs…


Where do you get the idea technology has made our life better? Every day I see at least one near miss because some nitwit is talking on a cellphone. It’s now rare to see children playing outside getting exercise, they’re too fascinated with the toys inside and becoming obese.
I don’t know. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. Technology is not a god. It’s a tool.

Thanks Anodos!

Your friend,

My husband used to be Amish…I asked him to read this thread and this is the response he wanted to post.

I would like to point out some facts about the Amish. I feel I am capable since I *was *Amish until my parents decided to leave (correction…my dad decided to leave), I was 3 years old when my dad decided to leave the Amish. I say my dad because my mom had no say in the matter since in the Amish culture women are submissive and have to listen to the man. When we left, I still had interactions with the Amish community. We visited my Grandpa and Grandma at times, that was tricky because my Grandpa (this is on my mom’s side) was obligated to shun us for leaving. It took awhile but Grandpa finally allowed his daughter and family to visit. He was supposed to have cut off all ties with us since we left the Amish…oh and one more thing…we were all going to Hell since we no longer belonged to the Amish church. They do indeed believe (I don’t know if they changed this thinking recently) that anyone not practicing their religion is going to Hell.

The facts that I will talk about are from my own personal experience or from talking with my aunts and cousin. The Amish believe leading a plain life is what Jesus wanted us to do. Now, how plain or what constitutes as excessive is left up to the Elders and Parson of the Church in the community. They can ride in vehicles but not drive them, they can own a vehicle but not drive the vehicle. They feel it is O.K. to use any mode of transportation that gets a person around except if they feel owning something like a car or driving a car is too excessive, a person doesn’t need to own a car. Phones are not permitted unless it is for work (construction) or its a community phone (phone booth). They have the same beliefs for clothes which is why they are dressed plain. However, some communities allow for different colors which I don’t get.

When you are old enough to walk then you are old enough to help…either in the kitchen or in the field. One lesson I learned (because my dad tried to pull this on me when I got a job at the age of 17) is that everyone in the household who has a job gives their paycheck to the dad including the wife if she has a job. The dad will give allowances if you are lucky. This ends when the child turns 21 or gets married. When my dad asked me for my paychecks I reminded him when he left the Amish he left everything included that stupid rule.

When I say this is all personal experience I do mean that; they are not as pious as you would like to believe. Yes they forgive easy but when a girl brings any notion that she has been touched or abused even the mother will tell her to shut up because “that doesn’t happen”. They are good at hiding things. They seem to wash bad things under the rug fast.

I wanted to give a little insight to the Amish community, I have some hard feeling against them because of my past. To me they are not pious, just plain folk that are hard workers.The man is dominate and the women has to be submissive and she rarely gets any respect. I am learning to let it all go because my dad and mom seem to be able to, but when I was told that my dad’s parents and relatives thought he was a nobody and would put him down for no reason, I can’t see the Amish community as pious. They look the part but trust me deep down they have skeletons just like everyone else


Thank you, Mark. People who can’t defend themselves from condemnatory rhetoric often end up looking evil. I know that Amish women have a tough time of it. They, I think, bear the biggest burden because of that lifestyle choice.

As I recall (and there were recently some shows on about this) there is a period of time where the kids (late teens?) are allowed a period of time to leave the community and decide if they wish to return…
Any insights on this from others?


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