What is the name of a religious group

Religious groups in the prairie provinces of North America - Hutterites, Amish, Mennonites

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Religion in the USA and Canada
2.1 The main religious groups
2.1.1 The Anglicans
2.1.2 The Puritans
2.1.3 The Baptists
2.1.4 The Presbyterians
2.1.5 The Quakers
2.1.6 The Methodists
2.1.7 The Mormons
2.1.8 The Lutherans
2.1.9 The Reformed
2.1.10 The Catholics
2.1.11 The Jews

3. The Anabaptists

4. The Mennonites

5. The Amish
5.1 Faith, values ​​and tradition
5.2 Characteristics and lifestyle
5.3 Agriculture and Income
5.4 Relationship with the State
5.5 The Amish as an economic factor
5.6 Future prospects

6. The Hutterites
6.1 Faith, values ​​and tradition
6.2 Characteristics and lifestyle
6.3 Agriculture and Income
6.4 Relationship with the state and neighbors
6.5 The Hutterites as an economic factor
6.6 Future prospects

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1 Introduction

As nations of immigrants, the United States and Canada are a melting pot of cultures and beliefs. During the last centuries a number of cultures have met and united in these states. Since the beginning of the 17th century, around 50 million Europeans have found their home in the "New World". They all lived up to the theory of the “melting pot” by giving up their own identity and adapting their linguistic and cultural behavior to the American people. However, some groups retained their individuality and thus contributed to the cultural pluralism in North America.

In North America there are a multitude of different religious and ethnic groups that represent minorities or so-called "utopian communities" in the overall picture. On a cultural or religious level, they pursue not everyday, but traditional world views and are tolerated, at least legally, despite their differences. In North America there has always been freedom of belief, a state church does not exist. So there is a lot of leeway for a variety of different faiths, churches, sects, etc.

The Mennonites, Hutterites and Amish also belong to the immigrant faith groups. In particular, the Hutterites and Amish, both of European origin, were able to maintain their own or even idiosyncratic way of life. This only applies to a limited extent to the Mennonites. The peculiar tradition and worldview of the Hutterites and Amish casts scientists and tourists alike under its spell. Various American studies, such as that of the professor of anthropology and sociology John A. Hostetler, provide insights into the society of these two groups, whose "way of life" is not easy for outsiders to understand and which even within the community there are various complex tendencies having. The following work will provide an overview of the history of the origins of the faith communities, their principles and ways of life. Last but not least, conclusions are drawn about the situation, the status and the problems with the “outside world”. First, a brief overview of the religious life of North America is given. The focus is on the question: which groupings are essential and what is their relationship to the state. In the further course, special attention is paid to Mennonites, Hutterites and Amish. All of these groups (especially the Hutterites) struck me as being of great interest because of their remarkable way of life. Since all three religious communities described trace their denominational identity back to the Anabaptists, I could not avoid giving an insight into the history of the Anabaptists.

2. Religion in the USA and Canada

Religious pluralism prevails in North America. A state church like ours is not known. In their legal status, all religions are what we call free churches and sects. Pluralism is both a consequence and a cause (Riege 1978). On the one hand, it emerged from history, and on the other, it helped shape this development. The North American settlement has very strongly differentiated according to beliefs. Each colony was determined by a different religious orientation. Religious and political forms of rule and life were often closely intertwined. In North America there is a natural, familiar relationship to faith that is difficult to imagine in Europe. Non-denominational status is also a social phenomenon, which, favored by this pluralism, appears much earlier in North America than in other societies. It is particularly noteworthy that the North American non-denominational is never militantly anti-religious.

The founding fathers of the United States seemed to see such an advantage in religious pluralism that they even included it in their constitution. Perhaps they also saw a danger in the introduction of a state religion, because the “Bill of Rights” begins its additional article with the words: “Congress may not pass a law that has the introduction of a (state) religion as its object or the free one Exercise of religion forbids. ”This means two things: The state should not impose any particular religion on its citizens and, on the other hand, should not prevent them from freely practicing their religion. The state does not identify with a religion, but it does not hinder it either. (Riege 1978).

The separation of church and state is omnipresent. There are no church holidays, the churches live from their members (not from the church tax as we do) and in many localities there is a variety of churches that would be unthinkable here.

Since Great Britain belonged and belongs to the Protestant camp, the British colonies were also essentially Protestant. Protestantism is still the defining element of American religion today. Only Maryland and French-Canadian Quebec were originally and still are Catholics. In Quebec, 88 percent of the population is Catholic (Federal Statistical Office 1995). However, the Catholic influence was increased by the wave of immigration in the 19th century.

2.1 The main religious groups

2.1.1 The Anglicans

The Anglican Church is the state church in England. In the course of the independence of numerous American institutions from the colonial power, the Protestant Episcopal Church. Although this never played the role of a state church, it always remained the church of the white upper class of Anglo-Saxon origin. Many successful people who previously belonged to another religion tend to go to Protestant Episcopal Church to step over, as this means a gain in prestige. A remarkable case of the sociologization of questions of faith, as it would be inconceivable with us. American Anglicanism has its roots in Virginia, as it was the oldest colony in the early 17th century.

2.1.2 The Puritans

The Puritans are among the congregationalists whose Protestant belief is centered around the community. The Puritans emerged as an opposition within the Anglican Church in the 16th century. The Puritans see in every Christian a potential priest. They emphasize the right, responsibility and duty of every individual to participate in church affairs. Tolerance towards those who think differently was not one of the characteristics of the Puritans. Deviants were cruelly persecuted.

2.1.3 The Babpisten

Baptist means Baptist. Only volunteer adults are baptized after prior instruction. So baptism is a creed. Baptism emerged from congregationalism in the mid-17th century. With around 24 million members (Riege 1978), the Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in North America. The Mennonites are also often mistakenly counted among the Baptists, since the focus is also on adult baptism. In contrast to the Mennonites, however, the confessional roots of the Baptists do not lie with the “Anabaptists” of the Reformation.

2.1.4 The Presbyterians

Presbyterianism has its roots in Scotland. As with congregationalism, the focus is on the church, but the elders lead the church. They form the link between Christ and the church. The Presbyterians mainly settled in the middle colonies, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

2.1.5 The Quakers

Quaker means "tremor" - a nickname given to them by their opponents, referring to their behavior at meetings. The Quakers believe that the Spirit of God dwells in everyone, there is no need for a church or dogma. The Quakers reject oath and military service and were therefore persecuted in England and America. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, was the most important Quaker. In Pennsylvania, according to the Quaker spirit, there was religious freedom and tolerance towards everyone. The Quakers live a simple and early Christian life, without any ascetic rigorism.

2.1.6 The Methodists

Methodism is a later split from Anglicanism - it was called mockingly: "the methodically living". With around 13 million followers (Riege 1978) they form the largest Protestant group alongside the Baptists.

2.1.7 The Mormons

The official name of the Mormons is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". The Mormons did not emerge until 1830. Their name is derived from the Book of Mormon, which is said to have appeared in vision to the founder, Joseph Smith. Especially because of their polygamy, the Mormons were exposed to strong hostility. Most Mormons live in the state of Utah, which became a member of the United States after abandoning polygamy.

2.1.8 The Lutherans

In addition to the Reformed, some of the few Protestant groups who do not draw their tradition from Anglicanism. Unlike ours, the Lutherans do not form a state church, but one of the numerous free churches. Their eight to nine million followers (Riege 1978) are mainly descendants of German and Scandinavian immigrants.

2.1.9 The Reformed

The Reformed consist mainly of Dutch Reformed and French Huguenots in New York and South Carolina. You pursue an ascetic, rational and emotionally cold way of life.

2.1.10 The Catholics

Catholic influence in America was initially very weak. Only with the wave of immigration in the 19th century was the Catholic element strengthened. New England, in particular, has been strongly Catholic to this day, particularly due to Irish, but also German immigrants. The immigration of the last few decades, especially from Eastern and Southern Europeans, then led to a veritable triumph of Catholicism. The approximately 50 million Catholics in North America (Riege 1978) mainly belong to the financially weaker population. Although they constitute the largest single Christian group, taken together they are far inferior to the Protestants. In the United States, 58 percent of the total population is Protestant and 25 percent Catholic (Adams 1998). In Canada the relationship is more balanced. Here 41 percent are Protestant and 46 percent Catholic (Federal Statistical Office 1995).

2.1.11 The Jews

The Jews are also an influential religious group today, although they only make up around two percent of the total population in both countries (Adams 1998 / Federal Statistical Office 1995). The various groups of Portuguese-Spanish, German and Polish-Russian Jews only united “through” the crimes in Hitler's Germany. Before that, the German Jews lived more liberally, while the Eastern European Jews remained conservative and orthodox.

3. The Anabaptists

The Anabaptists are firmly involved in the history of the Reformation. Anabaptists of all kinds appeared and fought on the basis of the New Testament writings for a Reformation that was ultimately more radical than that of Luther or Zwingli. Be it in Switzerland, in southern Germany and Austria or in the Netherlands: Everywhere there were people who were ready to question everything in the Church for which they believed there was no justification in the New Testament. They did not want to follow the more moderate Reformers, who were ready to continue to allow anything that was not explicitly in contradiction to the New Testament. The Anabaptists read the Bible themselves, often in small groups. They did not celebrate the service in church, but met in kitchens, rooms or in the open field. Nothing of Christ's commandments should be reinterpreted or artificially weakened. The Sermon on the Mount eventually became one of the central points and is still to this day. Adult baptism is a profession of faith and means entry into the church. Most Anabaptists agreed that the life of discipleship could only succeed in the context of the congregation. No state power should be allowed to have a say in matters of faith, hence the demand for a clear separation of church and state. The negative experiences with church hierarchies made only one model appear possible: The effort to restore the early Christian community; "... they were together and had all things in common" (Acts 3:44). This communitarian way of life can only be found today among the Hutterites (a branch of the Anabaptist movement named after the Tyrolean Baptist Jakob Hutter).

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