Other Amish Questions

Amish FAQ

What language do the Amish speak?

If you have ever visited the Illinois Amish country and Arthur, Illinois you
may have noticed that the Amish people speak a language other than English.
The Amish all speak a language called Pennsylvania Dutch which is a dialect
of German similar to that used in northern Germany.  The children are
all raised in a household speaking Pennsylvania Dutch and are later taught
English when they start school.  All Amish church services are also
given in Pennsylvania Dutch.

Why do the Amish not shave their beards?

In the Amish culture men stop shaving their beards when they become married.
The beard is mentioned quite a few times in the bible.  A long beard is
the mark of a adult Amish man.  The Amish do steer clear of mustaches,
though.  Throughout history the mustache has been used in the military
tradition and is forbidden to the Amish.

I was under the impression that the Amish don’t believe in using
cars yet I see them in cars and vans all the time.  What is their
actual stance on motorized vehicles?

Over the years many of the Amish have come to accept some modernization as a
means to meet the standards of living.   The Amish believe that
owning a car would separate the Amish community by inequality and would be
used to show status of wealth and power.  Because of this the Amish had
little hesitation in the decision to not allow ownership of motorized
vehicles.  Because the Amish have family members spread out throughout
the country though, the Amish have found it acceptable to hire drivers to
allow them to visit distances that they just could not travel by
horse and

Will the Amish visit a doctor’s office?

The majority of the Amish faith do not oppose the use of modern hospitals
and many Amish family in the Illinois area visit modern doctors.  The
Illinois Amish make use of many medical services such as blood transfusions,
surgeries, modern medicine, and dentists.  The Amish do believe,
however, that the body and good health is a gift of God and that it is up to
the individual to take care of it.  The Amish also do not have
insurance and therefore must rely on the community to band together to help
with emergencies.

Do the Amish pay the same kinds of taxes that non-Amish pay?

Amish that are self employed or employed by other Amish do not pay Social
Security taxes.  They believe in self sufficiency and that the Amish
families should take care of themselves and help other Amish families in
need.  The Amish do, however, pay real estate, state and federal income
taxes, county taxes, sales tax, etc.  Also, if they are employed by a
non-Amish employer in Illinois social security is paid for them.

Can I join the Amish religion?

The short answer is “Yes” an outsider can join the Amish church.
Most people than have grown up with modern conveniences find that they
cannot make the transition to the lifestyle that the Amish live.
Giving up electricity, cars, and other modern conveniences proves to be to
difficult for most.  Also, you must be able to put in the time and live
among the Amish to prove that lifestyle has been changed and that the person
life is ready to make the dedication to the Bible that is needed.

Do the Amish look down upon those that are not Amish?

The Amish have chosen to live their life the way that they do and have
deliberately chosen what is and isn’t allowed in their lifestyle.  The
Amish do not believe in passing judgment on outsiders.

Why do Amish houses not have electricity?

The Amish culture in Illinois values simple lifestyles and
self-sufficiency over comfort, convenience, and leisure.  They also
believe that having electricity will lead to other temptations that come
with connection to the rest of the world.  They do not believe that the
electricity itself is evil, just the deterioration of church and family
lifestyle that can come as a result of it.

Why are we not allowed to take pictures of the Amish?

It all stems from Exodus 20:4: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in
the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”  Because
of this the Illinois Amish people would prefer that visitors to the Illinois
Amish country not take their photos.




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