Putting the needs of the community ahead of the individual is a key Amish belief.
Putting the needs of the community ahead of the individual is a key Amish belief.

Like a number of other religious sects, the Amish also have various branches, each with its particular view on doctrine and how that dictates a follower's lifestyle. The New Order Amish have a more liberal approach than the Amish traditionalists in some respects, such as the separation from society and the rejection of modern technology, but there are more similarities than differences between the Old and New Orders.

Doctrine

Humility, simplicity of dress and lifestyle and obedience to elders and to a higher divine authority are the cornerstones of Amish doctrine. The needs of the community are considered more important than the rights of the individual. Children are taught the value of personal responsibility, as well as a gentle, peaceful approach to life. Pride in anything, such as a personal accomplishment, is frowned on as being sinful. The New Order doesn't believe as strongly as other Amish branches in the benefits of separation from the non-Amish community, although mixing with outsiders is largely for evangelical and teaching purposes.

Evangelism and Salvation

As distinct from the Old Order, New Order Amish believe in spreading the word about their faith and making conversions to it. They publish pamphlets and books about the religion, and may travel long distances by plane --not allowed in the Old Order -- to evangelize. In general, the New Order communities are more open to outsiders coming to Amish services, and may even have part of the service in English rather than the Pennsylvania Dutch or German spoken by the majority of New Order Amish. They believe that there is an assurance of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, in contrast to the Old Order, which believes that there is no guarantee of salvation and that all you can do is live a clean and sinless life and hope that you'll go to heaven.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Electricity and Phones

The New Order believes that use of alcohol and tobacco is unclean. The order prohibits members from growing tobacco, while some farming members of the Old Order both grow and use tobacco. The New Order see this as morally wrong, a way of defiling the body and something that no Christian should be involved in. Some branches of Amish do use alcohol in moderation, but New Order Amish view this in the same way as tobacco. Although the New Order Amish may believe in flying across the world for the benefit of faith, the community only accepts a limited amount of modern technology. Use of electricity and phones is limited as most Amish believe that these interfere with family and community life by exposing people to the temptations of the world.

Gender

Based on the verse from 1 Corinthians 11:3, " that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man," New Order Amish beliefs make a fairly strict distinction between gender roles. Men are the "head" of women both spiritually and in everyday life. Women can't teach in Sunday school, except for the very youngest children, neither can they lead family prayers at home. Men provide financially for the family and make the key decisions.