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What is the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites?

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Quick Answer

The most noticeable difference between the Amish and Mennonites is that Mennonites generally do not shun technology or contemporary society. Even Old Order Mennonites, who live more similarly to the Amish, allow modern conveniences like electricity in their homes.

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Full Answer

Theologically, the Amish and Mennonites have many similarities. Both are Anabaptist denominations and share ideals of pacifism. The Amish believed that mainstream Anabaptist churches were too liberal and that Christians should live separate from the outside world. The Amish practice a severe form of social shunning towards people who violate the church's guidelines. Some Old Order Mennonites practice shunning, although a less severe form than the Amish. However, most Mennonites do not practice it.

Most Mennonites wear contemporary clothing and work normal jobs, just like the majority of society. Although most practice simple living and avoid displays of wealth or status, it is not noticeable to outside observers. Mennonites generally believe that they should live in the world to make it a better place, rather than forming separate communities. Mennonites also take a more global approach to mission work than the Amish do. Mennonites live all over the world and often travel for service projects, while the Amish generally live in limited geographic areas and focus on their own communities and local service.

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