How Do Modern Pressures Impact the Amish?


How Do Modern Pressures Impact the Amish?



The Amish have a different way of life. As part of maintaining their lifestyle, the Amish renounce much of what most people would call “modern society.” But there is no doubt that Amish people face modern pressures. How do they respond to them?


What Do the Amish Know About the Outside World?


It is important to note that just because the Amish are living a different lifestyle that does not mean that they are unaware of the modern world and what it means to live in the current decade. In short, the Amish just choose not to partake in much of what the modern world has to offer. This is a stark difference from being unaware of modern developments.

One of the pressures that the Amish invariably face is the lure of technological advancement. The appeal and benefits of modern technological advancements have always been something that the Amish had to address. However, as the rate of technological developments has increased, so too has the potential appeal of modern of that technology, especially for the young.


However, nowadays we face a number of modern pressures that impact community

Technology is changing and evolving at an increasing rate. In fact, the rate of technological change is now seen as being exponential in nature; this means that the potential lure of technology could be harder than ever for the Amish to avoid.


Technological breakthroughs such as nanomedicine, artificial intelligence, human like robots, asteroid mining, large scale space transportation, space colonies and many other scientific marvels that were once in the realm of science fiction are now moving into the realm of scientific fact.


Will There Be a Rise in Isolation?


In the coming decades the Amish may feel more isolated from the rest of society than ever. The world is rapidly evolving and changing and this could lead to the gulf between the Amish and the rest of society feeling more pronounced than in any other time in history. Additionally, the ubiquitous nature of these technologies are such that they may become harder and harder for the Amish to avoid, for example, flying cars zooming overhead, evidence of space travel in the night’s sky and the list goes on and on.


In short, being Amish in the future may prove to be more challenging than it is today. The feeling among some Amish that they are “missing” more than at any other time in history may become more pronounced.


The Influence of Religion


churchAnother key pressure that the Amish will likely face in the future is that most of the areas where the Amish live, for example, the United States and Canada are becoming less religious overall. Studies show that Generation X and Millennials are far less religious than previous generations, and this could add to the feeling of isolation that the Amish will likely feel from the period of accelerated technological advancement that we are entering.


In the past, the rates of participation in organized religion was higher. As a large percentage of Millennials move away from organized religion, the Amish may be seen as more “foreign” than with previous generations. While it is difficult to know for certain that this could further isolate the Amish, it is a realistic possibility.


The combination of accelerated technological advancements and lower Millennial religious participation rates could put more pressure on the Amish than ever before. The lure of modern society, especially on the young, could become more intense and demanding than anything the Amish have ever faced.


Other Potential Rising Pressures


There may be other, more difficult to predict, pressures on the Amish in the coming decades as well. The way that the outside world engages in commerce could change. One example of this change could be in the form of a cashless society.


A cashless society could, ultimately force the Amish to adopt a certain level of technology in order to continue to participate financially in society. Likewise, the Amish tradition of ending education roughly at the eighth grade level could face pressure as well, as international competition becomes more intense and demanding. While it is of course difficult to predict in the near future, the Amish may be required to educate their children beyond the grade school level.



Currently, the Amish face pressure to drive cars, use the Internet and engage in modern society in a variety of ways. However, in the future, these pressures will likely only intensify.


To date, the Amish have resisted those changes quite well, but in the future our rapidly changing society may make it much more difficult for the Amish to avoid modern society. It is possible that modern society may change so much that in order for the Amish to have any meaningful interaction with the outside world they may have to engage in a modest level of adaptation.


In the past, the Amish have adapted on a case-by-case basis to different technologies. Some Amish affiliation have chosen for example to adopt indoor plumbing, pneumatic tools, chain saws and some mechanical devices such as powered lawn mowers and mechanical refrigerators.


An Adaptable and Resilient People


In the future, the Amish will likely once again have to evaluate the changing world around them and decide on what is the best response. One great motivator for change could be a shift in how the world at large addresses commerce.

For the Amish to maintain their way of life and continue to produce their traditional products for the world, it may be necessary for them to adapt what technology they incorporate into their business practices. Historically, the Amish have proven that they are resilient, capable and independent. In the coming decades it is likely that this decidedly Amish traits will be called upon more than ever.




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