Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trouble in Amish Paradise


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Originally Aired February 18, 2009 on BBC Two
An extraordinary insight into the secretive world of the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When two radical Amish men, Ephraim and Jesse Stoltzfus, start to question some of the most fundamental aspects of their Amish culture, they face excommunication from their church and total rejection by their friends and family.

20 comments:

  1. Such a bizarre little world they have.

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  2. R€LIGION Stinks of moneyJuly 25, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    Beautifully filmed and a fascinating insight into this religious community.

    I really do hope their daughter makes it through.

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  3. Wow. Curiosity and a thirst for the truth will out. Even if it is within the confines of the bible.

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  4. Wow... I'm watching it right now, and I find these people astonishingly intelligent to see through the unnecessary rules to whitch they obeyed since childhood.

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  5. l think i lost intrest.. right after I watched the part WHEN THEY GAVE ALL THEIR MONEY AWAY.

    why would they put their children at risk like that?

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  6. Craig, I agree that giving their money away was not very smart at all.

    Overall, I think the two main families that the film focused on, they were very sweet people....a little misguided, but very sweet.

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  7. Religion creates so much unnecessary suffering through guilt and stupid rules.    

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  8. and trust in an imaginary friend.

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  9. It's very strange how Ephram thought the Amish rules were breakable about having a phone in the house, provided it wasn't connected with a wire to the unit outside and instead was a cordless handset, but still adhere to the rules enough to want to keep the charging unit outside the house.

    It reminds me of the strange rules that orthodox jews come up with to obey-yet-not-obey the sabbath restrictions, especially with the pushing of buttons on electric devices like phones being allowed if instead of pushing the button you remove a blockage that allows a spring-loaded mechanism to push the button itself.  It's all very weird to me.  It seems like it would make more sense to just throw the whole rule away than only throw half of it away.

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  10. I hadn't made the jew connection, but that's a really good point.

    I had a jew friend once who was not religious intellectually but still kept all the stupid rules. He liked the discipline it takes to adhere to that kind of daily rigidity. It seemed harmless to me. I guess being threatened with exile is the real issue.

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  11. I lost my sympathy at that point too. I had the impression that it was a substantial amount of money and it seemed to disappear quite quickly. It takes time to spend money wisely, so I felt that he must have wasted it.

    OTOH, it goes to show that he truly believes in Jesus's doctrines. That's somewhat admirable. The world would be better off if a few of the rich bastard Christians stopped hording their money. Particularly the ones who are instead using that money to lobby the government.

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  12. My favorite part was where they were laughing out of frustration and out of recognition of the absurdity of looking up words from the bible in the dictionary.

    Here are these men, staring down into an ancient, indecipherable text. Trying to understand bits and pieces of the obsolete and forgotten words. They don't know what the fuck it says, let alone what it is supposed to mean! Yet, they've already made up their minds, with complete and total confidence, that the only purpose of life is to stare upwards at the sky in worship. "It says so, right there in this here book that we can't even read." I think they were laughing because they realized they are the village experts on the Bible, and they don't know anything. None of their studying could possibly be used in an argument to escape exile. They probably wouldn't ever read the bible and look up words with such intensity if they weren't under the threat of exile. Which means the Bible is useless in every day life because they only tried to use it in a crisis. And, in that crisis, it was completely useless as well. Finally, there would be no crisis if they didn't insist that reading the Bible is useful. Such a beautiful moment.

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  13. You notice after he says they can't use modern technology and such his wife is scrubbing with a PLASTIC mop and what I assume to be bleach. I saw a lot of plastic. Do they ride thier buggy to the local walmart? And wtf, a engine powered pressure washer to wash the buggy? but you can't use a motor to get around. lol wtf..... I'm confuzeled by their madness.

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  14. Nice piece, but erroneous on one count: The "dutch" in Pennsylvania Dutch is a bastardization of the word "deutsch". The Amish do speak a german dialect and not dutch. That would have been rather easy to research
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_German_language

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  15. Dead on. But as a German, I can testify that some German dialects are so distinct that they might as well be a different language. Doesn't invalidate your point, tho

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  16. He is turning protestant it seems here 20 min. in .

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  17. Right, however, the pronunciation of the word "Deutsch" in many German dialects is closer to the English word "Dutch". The fact that the Amish German dialect is called "Pennsylvania Dutch" does not mean the name has to be taken literally.

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  18. I was really admiring the guy.... until he took his kid out proselytizing!

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  19. I was really admiring the guy.... until he took his kid out proselytizing!

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