The Amish faith originally has its roots in the Anabaptist movement. The
Anabaptists came from Europe to escape religious persecution by the
Catholics and Protestants. The Anabaptists received their name from
the fact that they re-baptized the adult members. In 1525 a group of
Swiss brethren felt that baptisms should be performed on adults and a group
met secretly and re-baptized the adults of the group.
The Anabaptists had strong beliefs in the separation of church and state,
the baptism of adults only, and we pacifists against using violence as a
means to solve problems. Because of this they were viewed by many as
radicals. Thousands of Anabaptists were tortured and murdered but this
did not slow down the growth of the Anabaptist religion.
One of the key religious figures in the Anabaptist religion was Menno
Simons. It is because of this man that the church members were called
Over the years the Mennonite religion adopted many modern ways as time
progressed. One member of the Mennonite church felt that the best ways
were the old ways. He felt that the brethren should stick to the
original principles of the Anabaptist religion. The mans name was
Jakob Ammanns. Jakob and a portion of the Mennonite religion broke
away and this group became know as the Amish.
While the Mennonites, Anabaptists, and Amish all come from the same
background there are still differences which separate the three. The
main is their interpretation of the Bible. Amish and Mennonites also
are different in their adoption of modern conveniences such as automobiles
and electricity. The Amish believe the use of modern convenience leads
to “worldliness” which keeps a person from becoming close to God.
Even though most Amish shy away from using modern appliances and vehicles
they still do not live in seclusion from the rest of the world. If you
travel through the Illinois Amish area you will see many Amish intermingled
with other Arthur community members. They will shop in the downtown
stores and will sit with the rest of the community in the local coffee
shops. The Amish have adopted some modern conveniences which help make
everyday life easier such as propane gas refrigerators and stoves.
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