Tuesday, October 03, 2006
The Amish and Evil
The religious people in America called Amish are a quiet, industrious group of Christians who believe that the inventions of technology are conduits of temptation and evil.
Because of this, they seclude themselves from modern society as much as possible. I cannot fault them in their motives.
The Amish often cite three Bible verses which encapsulate their cultural attitudes:
* "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
(II Corinthians 6:14)
* "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
(II Corinthians 6:17)
* “And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their revulsion of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut or "humility" and Gelassenheit — often rendered "submission" or "letting-be," but perhaps better understood as a reluctance to forward or assert oneself in any way.
The willingness to submit to the Will of God, as expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture.
The anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on neighbors, or which, like electricity, might start a competition for status-goods, or which, like photographs, might cultivate individual or family vanity.
It is also the proximate cause for rejecting education beyond the eighth grade, especially speculative study which has little practical use for farm-life but which may awaken personal and materialistic ambitions.
The emphasis on competition and the uncritical assumption that self-reliance is a good thing, cultivated in American high schools, are in direct opposition to core Amish values.
I could fault these people for going overboard on certain elements of Biblical principles while missing some others (a problem common to MANY Christian groups), but one cannot argue about the result.
These are good, simple people.
Their desire in all of this is to honor God and diminish themselves.
Their communities are crimeless, peaceful, productive and reasonably happy.
This is why it is so difficult to accept the ugly, vicious horror that was visited upon some of these people yesterday in Pennsylvania.
The inconceivable evil came in the form of a man – described as a normal, loving husband and father – who lived nearby.
What, we ask, would make a person plot and execute a plan that included the deliberate, methodical murder of innocent little girls?
The answer is: Satan. The same spiritual entity who energizes the death squads in Iraq and Palestine.
He is the same spirit that empowered another male in the state of Colorado four days ago, to enter a school, choose a classroom, excuse all the boys and then commit sadistic evil on a group of innocent young girls.
In both cases, these men killed themselves with the same weapons they used on their victims.
Many of us will feel that justice was done – even if it was performed by the same person who had committed such vicious injustice and, sadly, administered it too late.
The social and political liberals will begin howling about stricter gun control and more “government protection” (read: control) over public schools, but do not be fooled.
These same people are the ones who loudly whine about the imposition of “conservative Christian values” being shoved down the collective throat of American society.
They are the ones who complain about America being “taken over” by a “vast right-wing conspiracy”.
And they are the ones who want to “take America back” from the "closed-minded, bigoted" minority of conservatives.
Like the Amish?
No, these are the same people who ridicule the Christian concept of sin.
These are the same people who seek to break down the definition of right and wrong.
They are the ones who defend moral relativism and oppose the defense and preservation of moral values based on the Bible.
They defend the display and distribution of pornography as a First Amendment right, but oppose prayer in public schools, and the display of the Ten Commandments, originally guaranteed by the same First Amendment to our Constitution.
They vehemently defend a woman’s “right to choose” the murder of her unborn child, while opposing those who believe that a woman’s right to choose begins before actions that lead to conception.
These are the people who want to take away the gun of the perpetrator– another right defined by an amendment of the Constitution – but not support the moral and spiritual principles and institutions that offer the solution to the inner problem of sin that caused the user to mis-use the gun.
The gun did not kill these girls - the sinful man did.
The gun was not possessed by the Devil - the man was.
The gun did not have a sin problem – the man did.
The problem was sin in the man – rebellion from the known spiritual laws of Yaweh.
While I may have theological and practical issues with the Amish version of Christianity, this nation would be MUCH better off today if this entire country was patterned after the Amish way of living.
May God comfort and have mercy on the victims and families affected by this horrible event.