A Guide To Amish Beliefs

The Amish people, better known as the Amish Mennonite people, are a group of people which descended from the Swiss. In 1693, Jakob Ammann separated from his church, the church of the Alsatian Anabaptists, and those that followed him became known as the Amish. The group immigrated to Pennsylvania, where they still live in the surrounding areas. There are more than 225,000 Amish in the United States today and they are seen as a calm, passive, hard-working people who live in their own world.

Way of Life

The Amish believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. As such, they are guided by their faith. They believe that living a life of discipline and service is what will bring them to God. They deliberately forgo modern amenities such as automobiles, electricity, and even telephones. The Amish are known to follow their own interpretation of the teachings of the bible and work to retain solidarity in their community.


There are a number of common misconceptions regarding the Amish community and their use of technology. If you aren’t familiar with their lifestyle and practices, one would probably assume they shy away from using any form of modern technology. After all, isn’t that one of their most notable traits? To learn the truth about the Amish and their views on using modern technology, keep reading.

The main reason why much of the Amish community avoids the use of various technology is because they feel like it takes away from their core principles and teaches. Amish communities remain family-oriented and stress the importance of this to their children. Without TV’s, cell phones and other high-tech distractions, there’s a stronger bond developed amongst family members.

Most Amish communities avoid owning cars because it opens them up to a new world of dangerous possibilities. When teenagers are given a new car, they’ll likely spend more time away from the church and home. In addition, it increases the risk that something dangerous could happen to them, such as being mugged, robbed or injured in an automobile accident. This isn’t to say that the entire Amish community is against the use of cars, though. On the contrary, many individuals within the community hire buses or taxis to transport them to and from different cities.

The Ordnung and How It Affects Technology

The Ordnung is a set of rules and principles used to uphold the beliefs of the Amish community. Typically, this prohibits certain behavior such as divorce, public electricity, suing other members, running for political office, and the use of certain technological devices. Depending on the specific community, the Orgung may prohibit the possession of automobiles, cell phones, televisions and other devices.

Tools Commonly Used By The Amish

To help their community create and manufacture products, the Amish often use power drills and tools. Because they can’t use public electricity, these tools must be converted to run off certain types of batteries. Pneumatic or hydraulic systems powered by diesel generators are often used to run workshops where craftsman create furniture and other items.

After reading this article, hopefully you have a better understanding as to what the Amish belief is regarding technology. They aren’t against using all types of technology, as they see the benefit in it. However, they do realize they certain types of modern day technologies, such as cars, can take away from their core values and principles.


Dress Code

The Amish shun bright colors. They also avoid wearing any kind of decorative items, including jewelry and pins. Children and women often go barefoot in warm weather. Amish men normally do not cut their facial hair and wear beards but not mustaches, as they believe mustaches are a sign of militarism. Women wear long dresses and aprons while men wear plain pants and shirts. Dark colors generally form the basis of the Amish wardrobe for adults while young girls often wear pastel dresses.


Amish children only attend school up until eighth grade. Most children attend schools that are operated by the Amish community. If there is a conflict about age, a child is able to leave school. In this Amish education system, a child is simply put through eighth grade again and again until he or she is old enough to graduate. Very few Amish children ever attend college but it does not mean that they do not receive an adequate education. When given standardized tests, Amish children perform on par with other children their age. When formal education ends, Amish boys will begin an apprenticeship to learn their trade and girls will learn the skills necessary to maintain the home.


Work is an integral part of life in Amish country. They believe that working actually nourishes one’s soul. Being considered a poor worker is a very bad thing in the community. Most Amish do work that involves intense labor like farming or blacksmithing. While many Amish people are skilled farmers, it is a common misconception that all Amish people are farmers. Many Amish men work in local factories and young women will often work in restaurants. Work is also a time for the Amish to socialize with each other, as is the case when barn raisings happen.

If you’re interested, you might want to read more about Amish and their negotiation practices.

Courtship & Marriage


Amish teenagers go through a period of rumspringa, the period of adolescence that begins the time of serious courtship. During this time, the strict church rules are relaxed and boys and girls are allowed to socialize with each other. Once this period is over, the teenager is baptized into the church. It’s from the church that they will find someone to marry, as marriages between people of differing churches are usually not allowed. Amish weddings begin at 9am and start with hymns which are followed by a sermon. The bride and groom do not wear special wedding clothes. The wedding day concludes with a big celebration with up to 500 guests. Marriage is considered for life in the Amish community and divorce is virtually unheard of.



The Amish believe that good health is a gift from God but they do actually use modern medicine. If someone is very ill, they will seek outside help if it’s needed. They do not carry health insurance. They also band together to help pay off medical bills.

Taxes and Insurance

As the Amish reject Social Security benefits, the government excused them from having to pay taxes on social security and insurance benefits. They also have a religious objection to insurance as a whole, which helped the government decide this. Even self-employed Amish people do not receive any kind of government benefits. Amish people who decide to work for non-Amish employers are taxed. They do not pay into worker’s compensation but they do pay all other taxes. The Amish community is known to band together to assist each other and this makes insurance and social security benefits unnecessary.


The Amish do not use cars. Instead, they travel with a horse and buggy. The stricter communities have the plainer buggies. Strict community buggies are extremely plain and wooden, stopped by using a manual lever to break. Communities that are slightly more modern will have buggies that are less conservative. For instance, some buggies will have sliding doors in place of rollup side curtains. The front part of these buggies may even have Plexiglas windshields and lights. Some of them even have hydraulic brakes.

Ever notice how there are very few pictures of Amish standing and posing in front of a camera? Well, this is because they actually go out of their way to avoid having their pictures taken. Depending on where you are, you may even see signs reading “No Pictures,” which is just one more sign of their unique belief. But why exactly do Amish avoid want to avoid having their pictures taken? To learn more about their beliefs and views on photography, keep reading.


Just because the Amish dislike having their pictures taken doesn’t mean you won’t find pictures with them in it. I’ve personally come across hundreds if not thousands of pictures with Amish people in it. The difference, however, is the fact that they are not posing in these pictures. Most Amish individuals have no problem being in pictures as long as they aren’t posing. In this case, they feel like they are simply a part of the landscape rather than the focus of the picture. This is why you may come across pictures with Amish on our blog and dozens of other websites on the internet.

 Why Do Amish Avoid Having Their Pictures Taken?

The reasoning behind their desire to avoid pictures goes back to their religion. Exodus 20:4 states, “Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Naturally, this would leave one to believe that pictures fall under the category of graven images. By posing in pictures, the Amish could be going against their religious beliefs and everything they stand for.

There are some varying beliefs on Amish children. Since they haven’t been baptized yet, some Amish towns and communities believe children can be photographed without fear of breaking Exodus 20:4. Perhaps this is why so many business advertisements in Amish country use pictures and photos of children rather than adults.

If you ever find yourself visiting Amish Country, you should remain respectful of their views and etiquettes on photography. Some people won’t mind if you take their picture as long as you block out their face, others don’t want any type of picture taken of them. You’ll have to pay attention to the signs or ask a resident around the Amish town you are visiting for more information on photography.

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