The Amish have a distinctive culture - Sociology Essay Example
The Amish have a distinctive culture - The Amish have a distinctive culture introduction. Do you think their beliefs and values mean they have as good a quality of life as someone living within modern society? My essay is about describing the Amish way of life in considerable detail. It is also about comparing, contrasting patterns, trends and making comments about their way of life compared to someone living in modern society. It is also about describing strengths and weaknesses in both societies. At the end of the essay I will decide whether the Amish beliefs and values mean they have a good a quality of life as someone living within modern society.
The Amish are a religious group of people who live in 21 states in America and Ontario in Canada. They believe in non-violence, not using technology and dressing very simply. They started out in Europe- but were outsiders among mainstream religions. This led to them being persecuted so many of them went to North America. In the first half of the 18th Century land in Pennsylvania was purchased and communities were established. The Amish get their beliefs from the Christian church when Catholicism was the only Christian faith practised in Western Europe.
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In 1517 Martin Luther revolted against the Catholic Church, which stated Protestantism. A few years after this a group of young protestant pastors were getting annoyed that things weren’t changing. They thought things were too similar to the Catholic Church, especially baptising children and conducting mass. In 1525 they formed their own religious group. They were nicknamed, “Anabaptists. ” Except in 1693 a Swiss bishop called Jacob Amman broke from the Anabaptist Church and his followers called, “Amish”-they were both very similar-but differed over matters of technology, dress and language.
The final nail in the coffin was the difference in the way excommunicated were treated-this led to the split. So, to quote from the course book, the three beliefs that the Amish feel most strongly about are: “Trying to obey God’s teachings, being humble, avoiding luxuries and conveniences. And finally they believed in living separately from the outside world. ” They have these beliefs for a number of reasons. Firstly, they try to obey God’s teachings because they believe in humidity (not showing off) they also use the word, “Gelasseheit,” meaning, “Submission -yielding to higher authority.
They are humble and avoid luxuries and conveniences because they believe that the modern world was created by God and therefore to follow his will they should separate from the outside world, they are also separated from the world, because they see modern society as, “blind and perverted. ” But these are not the only things the Amish have a different view on. They do not follow fashion, and wear very plain and simple clothes compared to modern society. They believe in non-violence, compared to a world were there are always wars going on.
They believe that using modern technology is going to eventually mean the end of the world. So, because of this, the Amish live a back to basic lifestyle, as they believe this will be the only way the world will survive. That is their way of life, and their lifestyle also differs. We already know that they do not follow fashion. Well, they have a certain dress code for boys and men, and a certain dress code for girls and women. ” The Amish males wear dark coloured suites, black socks and shoes, broad fall trousers, braces, solid coloured shirts, black or straw brimmed hats, straight cut coats without lapels.
Their shirts fasten with conventional buttons, but their suit coats and vets fasten with hooks and eyes. They do not have moustaches; but grow a beard after they marry. Amish females wear modest dresses made from solid coloured fabric with long sleeves and a full skirt. ” This is different to modern society, where we have the choice to wear what we want. As they do not use modern technology, they use thins like horse drawn equipment for ploughing the fields and horse and cart for transport.
This is different from modern society where we use modern technology to get to places quicker and to make things easier. Every Amish person speaks three distinctive languages: Pennsylvania German/Dutch, English and High German. This is different from modern society where people speak lots of different multicultural languages. The Amish have strong family bonds and always sit together and eat as a family. In the film witness, we see John Book sit down and start his hot dog straight away, whereas the Amish women and child said their prayers.
This is different to modern society where there is hardly a time when the whole family are together and where divorce is increasing more than ever, and the common two parents 2 children idea is a lot less common. However, there are few things in the Amish lifestyle that are similar to modern society, even if it is not immediately apparent. There are also lots of people in modern society who think violence is wrong. There are also people outside of the Amish life who believe in following a natural lifestyle and others who have become interested in preserving the environment such as green peace.
Everybody in modern society also relies on teamwork; whether it is in sports, school, or work. So, the advantages of the Amish lifestyle are as follows. They have a simpler lifestyle, a lot of community spirit. They have a more active, healthier lifestyle and there is a lot less pressure on their lifestyle. There is also a lot less pollution. The Amish also have a clear code of conduct and morality, and there is no confusion between right and wrong. Obviously, there are disadvantages to the Amish lifestyle, to quote from an Internet site, “Outside of the Amish community, they are made fun of and persecuted as outsiders.
They have a lack of privacy and are shunned if they break the very strict rules set by the elders of the Amish community. It can also be said that these rules might be even too strict-no tolerance of non-conformists and no room for individualism. Lastly, their quality of life as a whole might be a disadvantage-little formal education, not a lot of freethinking or initiative, as it is not encouraged. ” The conclusion I have come to is that the Amish have a better lifestyle. This is because the way the Amish live is the only way the world will survive.
In modern society there is stress, pollution, violence, corruption, unhealthy diets, jealousy, vanity and selfishness. None of this is in the Amish society-they have more stable, safer, greener, friendly, respectful, humble and relaxed way of life. Surely this must mean a better way of life. However, having said all that, I personally could not live the Amish way of life. I am too used the conveniences of the modern world. I would find it hard to fit into the back to basic lifestyle of the Amish. I would soon get bored, and miss the luxuries of the modern world.
As well as this, there are a few other things in the Amish lifestyle that aren’t as good as modern society. The fact that children leave school at 14, they miss out on social skills. Also I think that they have a prejudiced view on the modern world, and not seeing the good points to it as well as the bad. There is also a lack of individuality somewhat, as people have to conforn to rules and dress code, or be shunned. The sources that I have used have been very useful, but are they reliable? I will start with the film witness. There are a few things in this film that are not reliable.
Firstly, and most evidently, the fact that John Book, who is someone from modern society, was accepted into the Amish society. The film made it look like this was common, but it very rarely happens at all. Also the fact that at the end of the day witness is a film and not a religious lesson, so therefore has to put plot before correctness in the Amish lifestyle. Although it was a very useful source, I found other sources, such as the course book more useful, as it’s not trying to tell a story, it’s just presenting you with the information.