Difference Between Amish and Quakers (with Table)

During the 15th century, a religious movement started against the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. All the groups who criticised the Roman church were branded as the ‘Protestants’. One of these groups were the Anabaptists. Later factions created among this group also – Mennonites, Hutterites and others.

During the seventeenth century, a Mennonite leader Jakob Amman (a Swiss leader) caused a divide in the sect by upholding the view of shunning people who were excommunicated for lying. He also introduced the ritual of ‘foot-washing’ during the worship service. Followers of Amman are known as Amish today. They are found in the USA and Canada.

At the same time, there was another group emerging as the followers of George Fox in England. These people called themselves The Religious Society of Friends, later became famous as Quakers. They are found across the world and mainly found in Africa and North America (Pennsylvania).

The difference between the Amish and the Quaker communities is that – Amish believe that they must separate themselves (true believers) from the world to lead a loving community life and gain salvation, while the basis of the belief of Quakers is that every soul possesses God whether men or women.

Comparison Table Between Amish and Quakers

Parameters of ComparisonAmishQuakers
IdeologyAmish believe in separating their community from the world to live a loving community life which truly conforms with the biblical instructions.Quakers believe that there lies a part of Christ in every soul thus everyone is equal.
Place of individualIndividuality is denied here.The worth of individual life has been emphasized.
The Clergy and the CodeEach Amish church district has a bishop, two or four preachers and an elder. They are governed by unwritten rules (Ordnung).Quakers don’t have any church hierarchy and they don’t use honorific titles like ‘Your Lordship’.
LifestyleAmish people lead a traditional life and strictly avoid using modern technology except for the welfare of the community.Quakers do not see technology as in confrontation with their beliefs. They see the world as changing for the betterment of human lives.
Role of womenIn the Amish community, women generally do household chores and are considered below men. They can never divorce their husbands.Quakers from the beginning held women as equal to men and even allowed them to divorce and remarry.

Who are Amish?

Amish is a Christian Mennonite sect of North America which was recently recognised as the fastest-growing community. They are the followers of a Swiss Mennonite Jakob Amman.

They are famous for their traditional lifestyle and simple attire. Amish see the simple and independent community lives as the way to attain salvation. Amish stay away from any kind of confrontation and work harmoniously with nature.

They keep themselves away from the world but do engage with other people when needed. They live in rural settings and do farming for a living but sometimes produce handicrafts also. They avoid any technical advancement of the modern world like mobile phones, radio or T.V. and even electricity. Their horse carriages and 18th century-styled clothes are world-famous.

Generally, women do household chores and take care of children while men work in the field. Education is given up to 14 years of age and then young boys learn practical works to earn a living.

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Who are Quakers?

Quakers are officially known as the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of the Friends. Some consider themselves as Christians while others do not, but they all have descended from Christianity. The sect was founded by George Fox in England during the 17th century. His believers were called as ‘quakers’ to mock him for his name being Fox.

Quakers believe that each person has the essence of God and thus everyone is equal. They do not follow any written code, book or clerical hierarchy neither they observe festivals. They do not separate their secular and religious lives, instead see daily life as affecting the religion and vice-versa. They organise meetings for worship and discussion on religious matters.

Quakers are famous for their involvement in various movements demanding equality and human rights. They actively participate in protecting environmental rights. They even held positions like that of the United States President (Mr. Richard M. Nixon). They consider themselves as pacifists and strictly condemn war or any other form of violence. They even avoid working in businesses related to violence such as weapon factories. However, they, take up other jobs if it’s not in confrontation with their beliefs.

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Main Differences Between Amish and Quakers

  1. Amish see their community lives away from the world as their way to attaining salvation, while Quakers’ fundamental belief is that everyone has some essence of Jesus.
  2. Amish live a traditional life and reject modern technologies to avoid worldly temptations, Quakers live a modern life.
  3. Amish community has assigned women the traditional roles maintaining gender gaps, Quakers believe in gender equality.
  4. Amish wear simple plain attires while Quakers ceased to do so.
  5. Amish have a clergy order and unwritten community rules (Ordnung), Quakers refuse to have any clerical hierarchy.
  6. Amish people deny any individual’s achievements or qualities and put family and community first, Quakers respect an individual’s qualities and achievements.
  7. Amish are famous for their barn and handicrafts while Quakers have many famous individuals including former American President Richard M. Nixon.
  8. Amish are mainly found in the USA and Quakers mostly living in Pennsylvania (the USA) and Africa.

Conclusion

After the Protestant revolution, many sects came into the light but few of them survived. The Amish and the Quakers are those surviving and thriving sects who managed to stick to their beliefs even in this fast-changing interdependent modern world. The world can learn so much from these communities despite not sharing their beliefs.

Both communities are against any kind of confrontation and condemn violence. We can learn from Quakers to fight to make this world a better place for ourselves by learning the concepts of equality and individual dignity. Amish can teach us to put the common welfare before self. Religions are there to guide us throughout our lives not to prove each other better or worse, and we must learn this.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=M05gBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT7&dq=Amish&ots=eWVgfku1OW&sig=Eu3uv9t9LoFF0-2tXjVqO_hvdc8
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8306.1978.tb01194.x