The Amish, who are also called “The Plain People” or Old Order Amish, originated in Switzerland in approximately 1525. They originated from a movement called the Anabaptist movement. Jacom Amman was the leader. This happened during the reformation in the16th Century Europe. They believed in holding on to traditions and keeping themselves separated from the world. He was stricter about this than other Anabaptists of that time. The Anabaptists were against the union of church and state and also against infant baptism. They felt that each individual should make this choice for himself when he or she is old enough. They felt the age for baptism was about 18 years. This disagreed with the laws of the time. It was illegal to be baptised as an adult in the 16th century. Many Anabaptists died backing up their beliefs. They also held their worship services in their homes instead of in a church. Many organizations fought them because of their beliefs, from the government to the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.
The Amish once belonged to the Mennonites, who were named after Menno Simons, a Dutch Anabaptist leader. The Mennonites were persecuted in thier native country, Holland and fled to Switzerland.
Later, in 1693, there was a split from the Swiss “Mennonite” Brethren in 1693. This split occurred mainly because of the practices of foot washing and avoidance. Today there is no organized Amish movement in Europe.
The Amish migrated to the United states in the early 1700’s. The majority arrived in Pennsylvania, this was part of a “ Holy Experiment” organised by William Penn, which is said to have saved the Amish from extinction. They have enjoyed religious freedom from the time they arrived in America until the present, with only a few minor glitches, which have been resolved in court cases.
Since their arrival in Pennsylvania the Amish have been living in accordance to their religious beliefs. They live very simply, holding on to the way of life of the 1700’s. This includes dress, language and technology. In the 1860’s, the Amish held a series of conferences in Wayne County, Ohio to decide how to deal with the pressures to live a more modern life. What resulted was a split into a number of divisions, ranging from the conservative Old Order Amish, the New Order Amish, and a few more groups which are more conservative than the ...
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...ringe in other parts of the world, because of the prevalence of specific religious faiths, is actually a demonstration of religious freedom. At this time in history, the Catholic Church and the mainstream reformed churches, Lutheran, Church of England, Church of Scotland, etc., dominated philosophical and religious thought in Europe. These institutionalised religions had a narrow view of what was acceptable behavior and thought. This narrow view of religious expression helped populate the US with many different fundamentalist Christian sects during the pre-revolutionary European migrations.
The Amish is quite definitely a fundamentalist sect. Since they appear to outsiders to be trapped in time, quaint and otherworldly. However, their fundamentalism is not a definition of ‘Lunatic Fringe’. I learned in my study that the Amish are traditional Christians following the precepts of their individual Orders.
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