The Amish Reject Modern Technology: True or False?

True or False: The Amish Reject Modern Technology?


The Amish are very selective about the devices and innovations that members are allowed to possess, but they do not reject all modern technology outright. When a new technology becomes available within a district, church leaders will evaluate its potential for causing harm to Amish life and values and then make a decision accordingly. No technology, regardless of how labor-saving it may be, is permissible if the leaders determine that it will be spiritually detrimental to the community.

To the outsider, the Amish restrictions on technology are among the most confusing of their rules and often seem contradictory. Why do the Amish not own or drive cars, yet they will ride in vehicles driven by others? Why won’t they have a phone in the house but put one in the barn? To make sense of these questions and more, consider the Amish value system:

  • Humility: A lack of fancy electronic devices provides less opportunity for pride.
  • Submission: Following the technology rules of the order demonstrates obedience to God, to the group, and to history.
  • Community: Staying off the grid prevents dependence on the outside world.
  • Simplicity: Life without computers, email, or other forms of electronic interruption is more peaceful.
  • Thrift: A low-tech life prevents excessive phone bills, car insurance premiums, cable TV charges, internet costs, music download fees, and so on.
  • Family: Owning and driving one’s own car provides too many opportunities for temptation and allows one to roam too far from home.

Rules that seem contradictory usually relate to the overriding goal of being masters over technology rather than slaves to it. Anyone who has ever felt prisoner to a constantly ringing phone or a full email inbox can surely understand that concept!

Though the rules vary widely from district to district, many technological items are allowed in Amish homes and farms, including calculators, flashlights, manual typewriters, gas grills, chain saws, roller-blades, and more. Some districts allow manual lawnmowers only, though others permit gas-powered lawnmowers and even weed whackers.

Contrary to popular belief, the Amish do not think that technology itself is evil or wrong. They do believe, however, that if left unchecked, technology can destroy the Amish way of life by undermining its traditions, bringing inappropriate value systems into homes, and ultimately breaking communities and families apart.

This answer has been provided as an excerpt from the upcoming book, Plain Answers About the Amish Life by Mindy Starns Clark. Learn more below.

Plain Answers About the Amish Life

Plain Answers About the Amish Life
By Mindy Starns Clark
Available September 2013

For Amish fiction readers, young and old alike, Plain Answers About the Amish Life provides a glimpse into an obscure, fascinating world—what the Amish believe and how they live.
Learn more:

Last 5 posts by

2 Responses to “The Amish Reject Modern Technology: True or False?”

  1. We visited with an Old Order Amish family last year who had natural gas on their property and used it to power generators. With that power, they ran machinery to operate their dairy farm. But they also used it for things like electric music keyboards and crafting/cutting machines for scrapbooking. And they had a phone on their kitchen cabinet. Also, one of the teen-aged daughters is part of a trio of Amish girls who sing and have cut a CD of their music.


  2. […] to be assigned meaning by individuals. Everyone has his own view on the use of technology. Take the Amish for example, this group of people chooses to limit their use of technology but doesn’t completely […]

Leave a Reply