Back when I was still an Amish kid, I was often frustrated with the arbitrariness of the Amish Ordnung (their set of rules). For example, our church banned the smoking of cigarettes because the body is supposedly a temple of God and should be treated that way. On the other hand, eating potato chips was perfectly fine. Shouldn’t obese people be punished if smokers are?

You can’t live life without subjecting your body to harmful substances and situations. Even hard physical labor can be harmful to the body. Where do you draw the line, I wondered. How about leaving it up to the individuals to self-impose arbitrary rules? Anything else just causes discontent due to the restriction of personal freedom.

The Amish focus on the bad possibilities of technology (e.g. Oh no! You can watch porn on computers – computers must be banned!) while completely disregarding the vast good that technology can bring. With technology, the Amish mentality is to blame the gun instead of the person that pulled the trigger.

On the other hand, they are arbitrary even with that mentality – they don’t apply it to everything. When Amish church members are caught having sex with farm animals, no one blames it on the cow. No one says the cows are being too flirtatious – no one advocates banning cows.