Integrating Into The World Of The Amish
The Amish wouldn’t be the Amish without their religion. Their lifestyle and indeed their communities are all religious-centric without exception, and because of this anyone looking to date within the Amish community needs to fully understand their own perspective on religion before getting into the dating scene.
About 90% of all Amish people choose to be baptized at the end of their adolescence, or Rumspringa, so by the time they’ve matured, the overwhelming majority will have made a lifelong commitment to their faith. Converting is a huge taboo within the Amish communities.
If you run into someone who has not yet been baptized by the Amish church, then religion will be a subject that you two can discuss between yourselves, but if you meet someone who has been fully baptized within the religion then you should prepare to enter the religion yourself if you want to be with them.
The importance of their faith?
Even though Amish people don’t get baptized until they choose to be, they are raised on the precepts of the bible. And this goes far beyond the daily home-prayer and the bi-weekly church meetings observed by almost all communities. Spirituality is present in every aspect of Amish life, and that’s not in a metaphorical sense either. It even has a huge part to play when dating begins. “Sings” are meetings that occur between older Amish teenagers after church. The meetings are usually held within the same building and last late into the night, giving the members’ privacy and a chance to get to know one another.
After standard schooling is complete (8th grade) Amish singles don’t get a chance to mingle with members of the opposite sex very often. These sings are largely their primary form of contact and in fact serve as the starting point for many Amish relationships.
The two sides to the Amish community
As much as religion affects external lives, so too does it drive the behaviors of the Amish. The Amish follow Anabaptism, a religion which calls for a separation from the modernizing world and requires its practitioners to be humble and to practice humility.
Pride and ego are not parts of the equation here, and this leads to the Amish people having a very friendly disposition, especially to outsiders. The Amish are always willing to help those in need and this is largely because of the way they were raised – to love your brother or sister as yourself – but at the same time they hold themselves as individuals and as a community strictly responsible for upholding their religious beliefs.
Then there’s the practice of shunning. Shunning is almost exclusively reserved for those who have been baptized and entered into the religion but chose to abandon faith or convert to what some would say a more progressive form of worshipping the Almighty. If I were to date someone, I think I’d try dating someone who’s been shunned especially because you can safely assume they still maintain their values, and are therefore really kind and honest people, but still have the ability to try new experiences and are courageous enough to believe in something more.
In the outside world conversion may not be a big deal in some situations, but to a baptized member in the Amish community it means estrangement from their friends and family because for the most part, the majority don’t convert to other Christian faiths. Although there are several groups, you’ll always find a few community members trying things out like joining an Amish dating site, playing sports or even horse racing.
In essence, if you are asking a baptized Amish person to convert for you, you are asking them to give up their entire lives (actually) for you.
Unless they have personally stated an interest in leaving the Anabaptist faith, it is unfair of you to pressure them into leaving their lives. If you are looking to take an Amish member from the Amish community and are unwilling to enter into theirs, it’s best you find someone who practices a faith closer to yours. It’s only right.
Converting to the Amish Faith
Can you, as a person who was raised non-Amish, be accepted into the Amish community and baptized within the Anabaptist religion? While many believe the Amish have strict entry rules, there is actually no rule within Amish communities that prevents a non-Amish, or “Englisher”, from entering into the church. It is a very rare occurrence, to be sure, but it has happened. Joining the church means giving up your outside life (though you can still stay in contact with friends and family) and living within the community you were baptized in.
Take note here that each community operates differently and adheres to different rules so make sure to do your research before deciding which community you wish to join. Though all are Amish, their lifestyles vary GREATLY.
The outside world may be much more liberal when it comes to practicing religion, Amish communities don’t have any grey area in the matter. If you want to date a baptized Amish person then you have to yourself be ready to convert into the religion and be baptized. If you are having doubts about your stance on religion or are critical of Amish practices, dating a member of the Amish community isn’t for you.
So I hope you can tell I did my research. In my opinion it’s a great faith and if you’re able to give up the world, you just may find yourself an Amish sweet-heart!