Ethnography – Amish Religion sample essay

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In the modern era of technological and scientific advances such important life values as morality, feelings, and faith in particular still play key part in life of many people throughout the whole world. Regardless of various religions practiced globally, the Amish people attract attention of many scholars, scientists, and sociologists owing to their distinctive traditions, rituals, and uniqueness. The background of Amish religion goes back to the 16th century.

At that time a Swiss pope Jacob Ammann who is referred to now as the creator of Amish church left the Mennonites, the Protestant community because they poorly observed the rules of the main postulates. At the turn of the 18th century the adherents of Jacob Ammann have set active process of migration from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to Northern America. Arriving to this new undiscovered world they organized about fifty churches to worship their religion.

A considerable number of immigrants have chosen such states as Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ontario to be their final destination point as they were characterized by the most favorable climate (BELIEVE Religion Information Source). The Amish people concelebrate every other Sunday in private houses. Typically, men and women sit in different rooms during the church service not to disturb each other. In addition, the service is conducted by the pope, a pair of ministers, and a deacon. It has been historically established that women do not participate in managing and implementing services and rituals.

As the Amish people traditionally reside in agricultural communities of about 150 people, they think that such human feelings as arrogance and pride are the grave crimes generated in a growing store of knowledge an individual may have. To stay away from this trouble and raise their offsprings in an environment of absolute obedience and submission, Amish people have set their own education system where their kids stop attending school after the 8th grade due to the idea that extra knowledge may harm their perception of the world and incite such unwelcome reactions as arrogance and ambitiousness.

The followers of Amish religion believe that the understanding and knowledge obtained during high school and college is totally worthless for the agricultural activity of their community. (Wikipedia). In fact, the representatives of Amish religion still possess characteristic features that vividly prove their strict submission to their major postulates. The following are key points of Amish religion: • Faith and family connections. The Amish consider religion to be closely associated with families as it the foundation for emotions, attitudes, formation of the consciousness, understanding of the world, etc.

They believe that faith helps them to be more openhanded, kind-hearted, sincere, and responsible. The Amish are characterized by their own set of priorities established during their adolescence. This includes faith as priority number one, followed by family, agricultural activity, local community activities, and communication. The head of the family is in most cases a man who is responsible for financial and other important issues. Women are in charge of children upbringing and organizational issues of family life such as visiting guests, traveling within the Amish communities, etc.

Amish women enjoy quilting and are very famous for it. Typically, family members keep in touch with each other even after children leave their home and create new family. The marriages are only allowed among the members of the Amish community. During their lives most of the Amish have only one spouse and never divorce. They consider faithlessness as a crime and therefore are rarely involved in cheating. (BELIEVE Religion Information Source). • Refusal from technology is motivated not by individual choice but rather by the fact that it may serve as a reason of negative aspects of human behavior such as egotism, idleness, etc.

Machinery or, to be more correct, the absence of it, has always been vital question in Amish agricultural community. They believe that technological innovations may lead to ambitiousness and indifference in terms of agricultural duties and responsibilities of community representatives. Playing a key role in scientific development, technology is not accepted among Amish people as it may turn the people away from their roots and origin. Electricity is also prohibited as well as public transportation, telephones, home appliances, etc. In fact, there are several advantages of lighting candles, riding horses, and farming.

At the outset, agricultural products grown in the Amish community are organic, as they never include chemical fertilizers. (Wikipedia) • Social behavior. Owing to their cultural and religious beliefs Amish people remain isolated from the rest of the world. They try to minimize their communication with strangers, foreigners, and people unknown to them. However, it doesn’t mean that they will stay away from you and let you die without giving you a hand. Amish people enjoy serenity, freedom, quietness, and peacefulness of their surrounding environment.

Therefore, they usually laugh and speak quietly, walk slowly, and never offend each other. It is not typical for Amish community to use cameras because it may be taken as an interference of one’s private life. They believe that posing for cameras bring harm to their worldview. It is also rude to ask questions about beliefs, habits, and customs. Amish people appreciate respect, privacy, and space. Therefore they might not be excited to let the person in if s/he enters their territory without knocking the door (or in some way notifying about the arrival) or feeding their horse/pig. About, Inc. )

• Problematic issues. The biggest challenge of being the representative of Amish religion is the separation from the rest of the world that may be both useful and harmful for the person and the community. Leaving school at the age of 15 is also somewhat unreasonable due to the fact that the knowledge gained during high school and college may become very practical in farming, agriculture, and daily routine work. Newly invented equipment can make the lifestyle of Amish people considerably easier giving them more time for church services and communication within their community.

More often than not, foreigners perceive Amish people as aboriginal creatures and therefore in most cases it is very complicated to establish contact between each other. Also, non-Amish people have different points of view in terms of education, sociology, lifestyle, politics, etc, which also aggravates the situation and turns Amish away from them. One more significant challenge of living away from society is emergency cases. Typically, it takes long time before rescue services or police receive information about some emergency cases.

Recently, more and more cases have been reported when parents sexually abuse their daughters, brothers-in-law sexually harass their sisters, etc. According to Amish postulates, no aggression should be present and no punishment included. However, in case of crime, the accused person should be isolated from Amish community for a certain period of time depending on the cruelness and immensity of the crime. In conclusion, it would be rather well to note that Amish religion comprises unique traits that have both negative and positive effect on their lifestyle as any other religion in the world.

Reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/pennsylvania/a/amish_country.htm

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/amish.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10570c.htm

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