Many tourists are fascinated by the Amish people and their culture. People from all over the world have gone to places like Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, trying to catch the meaning and the reason behind the Amish way of life. Throughout the 19th century Amish people have encountered some difficulties in practicing their religion and living they way they desired to. Disagreements did not only generated between the Amish people and the out side world, but also within their own community, as we have seen in the most significant one which led to an internal division of the Amish population. As a result of that, today we can distinguish to different groups of Amish, the Old Order Amish which are the more conservative and the Amish Mennonite which decided to assume a more progressive way of living. This paper will first focus on the word "ritual" and its meaning in world religions, as explained in William Paden's book, Religious Worlds and will follow by discussing its structure in the Old Order Amish religion.
According to Paden, there are two ways of studying people and these are from what they say and through what they do. A big part of the Amish "world" and also one of the helmets that stimulates people's curiosity about Amish traditions is their rituals. In Chapter five of Paden's book, he focuses on the meaning of the word "ritual" which concept, he explains by creating a connection between "ritual" and "time". "Time is a construct of ritual ", "How one lives in time is equivalent to how one lives in the world" ( Paden, 93). People tend to see rituals as being superstitious and as a way of manipulating magical forces to ensure some sort of reward or maybe avert evil. Also the word ritual...
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... an Amish person meets with a higher authority and asks for mercy and forgiveness for not respecting the "Ordnung". This ritual becomes essential as the most important thing about any religion is to be at peace with God If you are not able lower yourself to such a stage of humility that allows you to admit your transgressions to God, than there would be no reason to be part of a religion that's based on humility. As time goes by and Amish communities become more and more tolerant of the "outside world" way of doing, I am afraid that they might become more tolerant about transgressions. I hope that will not be the case because; I believe that it is only by devoting their entire lives to rituals and traditions that they have been successful in passing on such a devotion and passion for their religion, living right next to a world where temptation is around every corner.
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