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21 Fascinating Facts About Amish Beliefs and Culture

For most of us, the only thing we know about the Amish is they probably won't be reading this list. Banned from technology and electricity, the Amish live a secluded life away from other Americans (known to them as the English). Because of this seclusion, the average person knows very few facts about the inner workings of the Amish religion and culture.

The Amish religion began in 16th century Europe, when Anabaptist leader Jakob Ammann formed his own community after his conservative beliefs created a schism in the Anabaptist faith. His teachings defined the values of the Amish religion; he literally put the "Am" in "Amish". Since the religion's founding, the Amish have grown in numbers, practicing the principles of their religion in many of the same ways the founders did centuries ago.

Most Amish people ended up in America, in particular as part of the Pennsylvania Dutch community. There are also Amish communities in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, and Canada. But what do the Amish believe? In order to find out, let’s let the least Amish thing on the planet, the Internet, be your guide. Check out all manner of information about Amish beliefs, Pennsylvania Dutch beliefs, and Amish religion facts below.

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  • The Amish Don't Evangelize

    Differing from many other religions, most Amish don't make any efforts to boost membership of their religion. They prefer to stay a closed society, and focus on improving life in the community. Not only do Amish not actively recruit, their rigid lifestyle makes joining relatively prohibitive.

    The Amish don't deny those who wish to join their ranks, but learning Pennsylvania Dutch and giving up all technology are often hurdles that few choose to cross.

  • Faceless Dolls Protect Children From Vanity

    Photo: ChesPal (Debra Heaphy) / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    The faces of Amish dolls are meant to be left blank and lack distinguishing features like faces, hair, fingers, and toes. The origin of this practice is not known, though a number of reasons have been hypothesized. For example, as they believe that only God can create life, they may consider even semi-accurate replications of human figures to be idolatrous.

    Similarly, faceless dolls promote uniformity and prevent one doll from looking better than another, which they believe could spawn vanity. While these dolls were popular among the Amish 

  • They Have No Private Access To Electricity Or Technology

    Amish people reject the use of electricity in their homes. The goal of forsaking technological advancements lies in maintaining a focus on community rather than the individual. The Amish believe that if people have the capacity to do complete a task alone, it will prevent the pursuit of community bonds.

    Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't stop the Amish from using technology when it becomes a necessity. Many Amish communities have a public phone used by everyone. They also have a computer marketed specifically to them: The Deskmate, used for business transactions, has no video, music, or Internet capabilities.

  • Amish Teens Become Intimate Yet Remain Chaste Through Bundling

    Video: YouTube

    Bundling is a method for developing intimacy while removing physical temptation. The ritual consists of a young couple lying side-by-side in bed, sometimes wrapped in extra blankets (to stave off temptation), and talking through most of the night. When couples bundle, parents trust the church's teachings to prevent them from touching one another.

    Bundling is not an exclusively Amish practice, and has roots in the Bible, though it is fairly uncommon in the 21st century, even in Amish communities.