• Category: Religion
  • Words: 667
  • Grade: 90
Want to trade your car for a horse-drawn buggy? The idea of life without electricity and automobiles is foreign to most Americans. Our Gesellschaft society is self-efficient and self-indulgent. A high contrast to mainstream America is the Old Order Amish, a Gemeinschaft society. This religious sect, established in 1693, has maintained a close-knit community and a strong work ethic for over three centuries.
        Although these societies seem to be the direct opposite of each other, similarities do exist. Each society has a set of norms in which they live by. For the Amish, the Ordnung guides behavior. Mainstream America has its own rules, both written and instinctual. Our society uses the Constitution as a key to what's just and unjust. Christian Americans follow the Ten Commandments to be more righteous. These guidelines, as well as our unspoken mores, serve to outline our ethics in the same manner as the Ordnung and Holy Bible for the Amish.
        Another similarity is the changing parental/spousal roles. The spousal roles in Amish communities are evolving due to the escalating costs for farmland. Many Amish men are finding jobs away from their farms so that they can continue to support their families. Their absence from the home has decreased their authority over their children. Amish women have also become breadwinners. They've opened such businesses as gift shops to help the communities income. This change has also weakened the male's role in the family and community. For the first time in Amish history, both spouses are working outside of the home. This has decreased the social gap between mainstream Americans and the Amish, especially for the increasing importance of the female's role in each society.
        The Amish follow eight of the nine social institutions to an extent. They are natural pacifists, disbelieving in the need for military warfare. The role of family is stronger for the Amish than for our society. A substantial difference is our culture's belief in "safe sex." This is of vital importance for survival and to counter over-population. The Amish do not believe in birth control and have therefore doubled in populations over the past two decades.
        Righteousness is the key to Heaven for the Amish. Our society does not go to the same selfless extremes as the Amish. Mainstream America encompasses many different religions. Many Americans have the same views as the Amish, but on a smaller scale. Religion is not a necessity to many people in our society. However, it is the basis for the Amish way of life.
        Education differs from mainstream America in many ways. Amish children are taught in a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade. Upon graduation from this grade, they begin working. The Amish also shun higher education, believing values exposed of other societies would cripple their own. In contrast, Americans complete twelve grade levels before being rewarded a diploma. Another difference is that Americans are proponents of higher education, often seeing a college degree as a status symbol.
        The two societies blend well in the law and medicine institutions. Amish are peaceful; law abiding citizens, as are most Americans. However, the self-employed Amish are not required to pay Social Security tax, since they will not receive aid after retirement. The two societies also agree in the usage of modern medicine. The Amish have no beliefs that hinder them for receiving medical attention. They do differ in their disbelief of health insurance, which is a necessity for most Americans.
        Although the gap between the two societies is weakening, it will probably be another century until our worlds collide. The Amish have a self-discipline unknown to our debauched and decadent lifestyle. Mainstream America could learn a lot from the Amish if we quit watching T.V., using computers, and driving cars; but that'd be our equivalent to Hell on Earth.
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