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PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES: free will, moral relativism, the afterlife CHARACTERS: Faron (drug dealer), Sara (Farons first girlfriend), Emma (Farons second girlfriend), Gerald (boy who lives in trailer), Velda (young woman who was shunned), Joann (girl who later joins Amish Church) SYNOPSIS: Devils Playground is a documentary film by Lucy Walker which explores the Amish adolescent rite of passage called rumspringa (pronounced ROOM-shpring-a).
Upon their sixteenth birthdays, Amish youth, both male and female, are released from Amish restrictions and can explore secular life the devils playground outside of the Amish community.
Others decide against returning, and still others waffle between the options. A caption in the film states the following: The Amish allow a rumspringa tradition known as bed courtship.
While many religious groups endorse some sort of "age of accountability" doctrine, the Old Order Amish have a specific age, sixteen, which seems to be a high estimate for when human beings begin to consciously sin.
Rumspringa is when an Amish adolescent, age sixteen, goes to experience the "English" world and, consequently, becomes lost.
You can bed courtship, you can hang out, and you can date on the weekends, but you cant really do anything else during the week.
If you wanted to really take the relationship to the next level, youve got to get married, and in order to get married youve got to join the church.
Heaven and hell are as real as New York and Los Angeles. Is it good for any believer to feel that a literal heaven and hell are as real as New York and Los Angeles? An Amish expert in the film states, The Amish people in general would not believe that a person is saved who is not baptized.
An Amish teenager would be considered lost if they would die or be killed during that time. An Amish boy going through rumspringa states, Its in the back of my mind almost every day that if I dont change my ways I might not get to heaven. If the fear is that genuine (as it appears to be), why wouldnt all Amish youth cut short their rumspringa experience and join the Amish church as fast as they could? In the directors commentary, Walker reports that Emma and Faron once had a conversation in which they asked each other What if God didnt dictate the Bible?
Parents just assume that the young couple will become intimate, and many girls in fact become pregnant.
Is there anything religiously contradictory about bed courtship, and is this a practice that the rest of society might benefit from? A caption in the film states the following: Currently almost 90% of Amish young people will join the Amish church.
Mahayana Buddhism has the notion of useful means, that is, concerned believers can do anything necessary in order to bring people to salvation.