What does it mean to be Amish? They dress different and their lifestyle is different, but is that the only difference between the Amish and the people of the mainstream American culture? America's 150,000 member Amish minority, which is situated throughout the U.S. mainly in Indiana, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has been one of the most successful among the nation's religious and ethnic groups in opposing change and in saving the social integration of their small communities. The Amish minority is a society that differs from its mainstream American culture and portrays how the mainstream culture reflects the minority's needs.
The Amish are a very remarkable minority in that their culture is very peculiar, especially to the people of the mainstream culture. One incident, which acts as a very good example of the previously mentioned point, occurred a couple years ago: fifty-two Americans decided to visit the Holmes County and hired an Amishman to answer some of their questions about the Amish culture. The first question, of course, was, "What does it mean to be Amish?" The Amish man, Monroe L. Beachy, did not really have an explanation as to what it really means to be Amish, so he decided to ask a question of his own. "How many of you have TV in your homes?" Fifty-two hands went up. "Now, how many of you feel that perhaps you would be better off without TV in your homes?" Again, fifty-two hands went up. "All right. Now, how many of you are going to go home and get rid of your TV?" Not one hand went up! As a conclusion, and an overall answer to the question, he stated: "As a church, if we see or experience something that is not good for us spiritually, we will discipline ourselves to do without. The world in general does not know what it is to do without" (Beachy). The Amish people try to preserve the lifestyle and traditions of late 17th century Christianity.