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Old 04-03-2008, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
11,449 posts, read 14,958,294 times
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I am an atheist. Sometimes, when driving thru Amish country I can get a tiny glimpse of the way they live. They clothe themselves in ways different from the ordinary. They travel the roads with horse and buggy. They work their fields with animals. They do not use electricity. In our society they maintain a low profile.
I respect their choice of beliefs and lifestyle. The main reason is that they are not demanding to be the dominating power in government, not demanding that everybody give up their cars, dress as they do, refuse electricity, and use animals to cultivate crops. The Amish teach the bible to their youths, but are not trying to force the bible on everyone. Obviously, it doesn't upset them that everyone is not a christian. And certainly, they don't use guns and bombs as tools of persuasion.
They also don't knock on doors attempting to convince others to convert, nor do they hurl vicious attacks on those who differ from them. The Amish are not prying into the private lives of others.
From the little I know about the Amish it seems they are a peaceful folk who live their lives they way they choose. They also demonstrate that having beliefs, which some may consider as peculiar, can be practiced in America without any belligerence. This is worthy of respect.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:30 AM
 
Location: southern california
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i see very few attacks on atheists on CD. most of the posts are see are from non believers or former believers, questioning the beliefs of christians.
not that i am complaining about all the free publicity. thanks.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
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The Amish are worthy of respect but at the same time, they try to keep the next generation away from modern day things and knowledge. It's almost cultlike, the way they isolate.
I know isolation is probably the only way they can keep their way of life.
They are not hurting anyone from the outside world by living that way, so more power to them. I just know I would want to explore the rest of the world. And so do many of the younger people, I believe they are losing young people to the outside world every year. Some go to college and never return. It's got its pros and cons like anything else.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:56 AM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
11,449 posts, read 14,958,294 times
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To both above posters...
I may disagree with Amish beliefs but respect their keeping their beliefs to themselves. They demonstrate that it is possible.
My point is that they are not making their beliefs a public issue.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Visvaldis View Post
To both above posters...
I may disagree with Amish beliefs but respect their keeping their beliefs to themselves. They demonstrate that it is possible.
My point is that they are not making their beliefs a public issue.
I like that and I understand where you're coming from. I've never seen an Amish guy blow up a market full of women and children because of his religious belief. I've never had an Amish guy knock on my door on a Sunday afternoon because of his religious belief. I've never seen warring factions of Amish people and I think there's something to be said for those who keep their beliefs to themselves without trying to influence everyone around them.

To a true unbeliever, I have a lot of respect for the Amish and Quakers because they choose not to force it down your throat. My impression is that if you're interested you'll ask. If not, so be it. Sadly, it seems that some find justification in the logic of "If they don't believe: Humiliate, dis-associate, and ignore those who don't believe."

My take, within all of this, in my semi-drunken (ok, who am I kidding? DRUNKEN state) that I'm in, is that people don't have beef with the amish. They don't have beef with the quaker's. In fact, it seems these two groups are respected. And for good reason. It seems these are two groups of Christianity that I honestly can't consider to be bible-bashing religious zealots with an ulterior motive. In fact, I highly recommend people to look into these religions.

After all, when was the last time we heard from an Amish guy posting on this forum???
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:15 AM
 
7,870 posts, read 11,186,213 times
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Interesting OP. In the past, I had heard some "not-so-nice" things about the goings-ons, if you will, within the Amish community in terms of their having an exceedingly high incest rate. However, I can recall being amazed, (utterly amazed) when, in the aftermath of the Amish school shooting last year, the parents of the slain children walked to the home of the family whose relative did the shooting, and told the relatives that they forgave him...

That made such a strong impression on me. Has stayed with me ever since...



Take gentle care.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:49 AM
 
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i dont think the Amish are THAT isolated. i have been to Amish communties a couple of times and have gone to the homes and "museums" to learn about them.
then i have seen them in the regular markets, selling along side non Amish people. i have seen them use the phone and get off the bus and wear sandles.
i have seen them frequent the same restaurants i was going to.
they dont try to keep their teens away from society. i fact they have a ritual when they are about 16, they are allowed to live in the regular world for about 2 years. they may travle etc. then they must choose: either stay in the world, or go back to their community to accept their religion.
most obviously go back, or they would have been "extinct" by now.
but some ddo not go back, and they are basically shunned by the community.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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I remember meeting some lovely Amish people in PA and OHIO ( both from the Old Order and the New Order) and they were very impressive as communities.

I can ,even as an atheist respect their lifestyle and religion because like the Quakers they do genuinely seem to truly live their religion. There seems little hypocrisy in them , something I always find grating in most religious groups.

They seem like peaceful and genuinely happy people. I do not understand their belief systems but I respect it.

I am envious in a way of the inner strength they must have to be able and keep modern life at bay.

I was invited to a an Amish Farm for lunch once and they were the most hospitable people you could imagine. And the Lady of the House managed to mend a painful ankle too, a real bonus !

Their lives were so wholesome, the air around their land was somehow clearer and fresher than anywhere else. The kids look fresh and healthy. They all seemed so content.

It seems such a much simple and peaceful way to live and I suspect all those "modern comforts" we are so fond of are not all they are cracked up to be and that we could learn a lot from the Amish people.

I don't know about the incest figures , though I suspect all close-knit groups around the world will experience those higher figures to be fair to them.

I am sure the vast majority are sweet, gentle creatures and that their God is giving them a greater purpose in life, a happy soul, and all the best to them I say.

They are industrious, honest and hard-working, their sense of true community and social closeness is something which shames us all.
May they live long and prosper !

I think we need more groups like this just to remind us that our modern monoculture is not the only life-style out there and that being different is a good thing.

Oh and they don't preach to you. Big bonus.

I told the Amish family I had lunch with I was an atheist, they shook their heads, expressed sadness, but nothing more was said of it. I was not made to feel I was going to hell or somehow wrong. I found them refreshingly tolerant of my atheism.

I find it fascinating that Amish farmers are the some of the most productive in the world and the Barn raising thing is just something we could all take a leaf out of.

They live ( the Old Order at least) sustainable, incredibly healthy lifestyles and as long as they are happy, it seems prefect to me.

I remember reading a statistic somewhere that most young Amish people who do leave the community to experience the modern world end up coming back.

Pretty telling I would say.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in the middle
600 posts, read 1,185,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by june 7th View Post
Interesting OP. In the past, I had heard some "not-so-nice" things about the goings-ons, if you will, within the Amish community in terms of their having an exceedingly high incest rate. However, I can recall being amazed, (utterly amazed) when, in the aftermath of the Amish school shooting last year, the parents of the slain children walked to the home of the family whose relative did the shooting, and told the relatives that they forgave him...

That made such a strong impression on me. Has stayed with me ever since...



Take gentle care.
I wholeheartedly agree June. I cannot think of a better example of true Christian love than that. The Amish truly do live out their faith and for that I respect them. Did you know that the families of the victims also shared the money that was donated to them with the family of the shooter? The way the Amish community handled the whole situation made a huge impression on me as well.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Just a few miles outside of St. Louis
1,921 posts, read 5,305,102 times
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Nice thread, and it's refreshing to see that we can come together in reasonable agreement about the Amish, (and the Quakers), whether we are theists or atheists. To be sure, they are not perfect, (they are human, after all), and there undoubtedly is individual behaviour that is not acceptable, either to them, or to the outside world, but I highly respect both the Amish, and the Quakers, as a whole. They quietly live their lives, they are not pushy, or ugly, and they set before us an example of what religious/spiritual beliefs should be, that of love, patience, and tolerance, qualities that we could all benefit from, and should learn to cultivate.

Last edited by CelticLady1; 04-03-2008 at 07:32 AM..
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