The Amish are non-evangelical protestant Christians. There are more than 250,000 Amish people living in America today, but their strict adherence to a policy of separation from the secular world causes them to be something of a mystery to many Americans. Amish practices such as the avoidance of modern technology, adherence to an extremely simple dress code and conscientious objection to military service may seem radically different from many other sects of Christianity, but each of these Amish practices is supported by scripture.
The Amish are best known to many Americans for their unique lifestyle, which closely resembles that lived in the 1800s. While the selection of which technologies are banned varies from community to community, there are some constants. Posing for pictures and the use of cameras is banned in all Amish communities. This is based on Exodus 20:4, which reads, "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." Most Amish also avoid the use of automobiles and other modern forms of transportation out of fear that they will decrease their sense of community. The Amish place a very high value on the idea of a community of believers, as mentioned in various Bible verses including Genesis 28:3, Numbers 16:3 and Joshua 22:18.
Because the Amish believe that a righteous community is necessary for individual salvation, they take discipline very seriously. When an Amish person commits a sin and refuses to repent, they are excommunicated and shunned. Shunning involves all active community members, including family and close friends, refusing to interact with the shunned individual in all business and social situations. The practice of shunning is supported by two separate Bible verses. The first is I Corinthians 5:11 and the second is Romans 16:17. Both verses express the idea that the sins of an individual can negatively affect the community as a whole. I Corinthians 5:11 reads, "But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people."
The Amish believe that it is important to avoid individual distinctiveness in order to remain humble. They adhere to a dress code that consists mostly of home-sewn clothing made out of homespun material. Men wear dark-colored, straight-cut pants with simple shirts that are void of collars and pockets. Women wear long, solid-colored dresses with aprons. The Amish wardrobe's simplicity is supported by Bible verses that discourage vanity, such as Proverbs 31:30 and Proverbs 13:11. Psalms 119:37 also provides support for the Amish belief in the importance of simple dress. The verse reads, "Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way."
The Amish are non-violent conscientious objectors who choose to abstain from all acts of war, including military service. Amish principles of non-violence are supported by many scripture verses, including Genesis 6:13, Psalm 7:16 and Proverbs 3:31. The Amish believe that military service is not a personal choice, but rather something that affects the community as a whole. This is supported by Proverbs 16:29, which reads, "A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good."
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