Charity and the Common Good (from Catholic Catechism)
While Jews continue to wait for the Messiah, Christians believe Jesus Christ is that Messiah. They believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary to save mankind from the sin that affected all individuals after Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Faith in Christ's death and resurrection is perceived as the only way to salvation from one's sins and to eternal life. The written record of the life and teachings of Christ provide guidance for how to live life. Christians believe that the laws of the Old Testament included in Judaism can be summed up in one commandment: "Love others as you love yourself" (Matthew 22:37-40).
The Christian community includes Catholics and Protestants. They differ in which scriptures they accept as guides for daily living and in the extent of their respective unity. Catholics receive guidance from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reflects the interpretation of scriptures by the Pope in Rome and his cardinals.
Protestants are distributed across many denominations, each having their own structure. The major denominations include Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist. Curricula from each denomination guides ministers and layman in the interpretation of the Protestant Bible. That Bible consists of 39 books in the Old Testament (similar to the Jewish Torah, Prophets and Writings) and 27 books of the New Testament. Christians consider the Bible to be inspired by God though written by many authors over time. Because the Bible was written in ancient times in different cultural settings, the Bible has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the centuries. The meaning, however, has remained basically the same. Influences on help giving come especially from the New Testament and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Who to Help and How