Below is an excerpt from Dr. Ben Carson’s new book, “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”

Carson will be a guest on the Glenn Beck radio program this morning at 11:30AM EST. Be sure to listen in on TheBlaze Radio network.

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Dr. Ben Carson speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on February 7, 2013. (Image Source: C-SPAN/Youtube screengrab)

Dr. Ben Carson speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on February 7, 2013. (Image Source: C-SPAN/Youtube screengrab)

CHAPTER 1: Saving Our Future

Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. PROVERBS 14:34

Several years ago I took a trip to Alaska, and my hosts offered to send me on an excursion in their private plane to see the glaciers in the area. I was extremely excited and eagerly accepted the offer. I was less excited when I saw the single-engine prop plane that would be used by the pilot. He assured me that he had flown this mission many times and that the plane was very safe, so we headed out.

As the plane took off, I marveled at the beautiful scenery. As we flew over the mountaintop and dropped into the valley, it almost seemed as if we were on another planet. The glaciers were awe inspiring and I quietly thanked God for the opportunity to view these natural wonders.

As I was enjoying the sights, heavy cloud cover descended on the valley severely obscuring our view. The small plane was not equipped for instrument-only flight, so the pilot announced that we were going to climb through the clouds as rapidly as we could without going into a stall, and that we should clear the mountaintops that surrounded us. He spoke calmly, but I could detect the uncertainty in his voice. Deeply concerned, I entered into prayer and reminded myself that God is in charge even when we are in grave danger.

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After several intense minutes of upward flight, there was a break in the clouds and we cleared the mountain peaks by just a few feet. Relieved, I thanked the pilot for his quick and decisive action that saved our lives. I was never so happy to be on the ground as when we landed at the small airstrip.

Our nation is in trouble today, and our only chance is to take quick and decisive action the way the pilot did in Alaska. Shrugging and hoping that something good would happen was not a viable choice for us as our plane hurtled toward the mountain, and it is not a wise choice for us today. Doing everything we could while beseeching the mercies of God paid big dividends in the Alaskan sky, and prayerful action could make all the difference in the problems America faces now.

Many Americans argue that our nation’s future does not need to be saved and that we are in very good shape. They think that only partisans are skeptical about our future and that people say negative things in order to make the current administration look bad. They see the beautiful view that is America , but they don’t have the common sense and wisdom to look for the lowering clouds that obscure the mountains.

It is true that we are enjoying the benefits of the system set up by our founders, and we are relatively quite comfortable because previous generations have made good choices. Nevertheless, the fog has been gathering for years, and we must act quickly and decisively to deal with substantial issues if we don’t want to destroy our children’s future.

A quick glance at a newspaper should be enough to perceive the warning signs. As far as education is concerned, we have made a lot of progress in being politically correct, but very little progress in basic education, particularly in areas like math and science. The secular progressive movement completely denies any moral backsliding and feels that we have made substantial progress as a nation with respect to great moral issues like abortion, gay marriage, and helping the poor, but in reality we are losing our moral compass and are caught up in elitism and bigotry. On top of that, our national debt and the passage of Obamacare are threatening the financial future of our nation. Worst of all, we seem to have lost our ability to discuss important issues respectfully and courteously and cannot come together enough to begin to solve our problems.

We each need to take an active role in changing the course of our nation
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We each need to take an active role in changing the course of our nation if we are to live up to the motto “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We are the pinnacle nation in the world right now, but if the examples of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Great Britain teach us anything, it is that pinnacle nations are not guaranteed their place forever. If we fail to rediscover the basic principles of common sense, manners, and morality, we will go the same way they did. Fortunately, our downward pathway is not an inexorable one. It is not too late to learn from the mistakes of those who preceded us and take the kinds of corrective action that will ensure a promising future for those who come after us.

Communities, political parties, business organizations, the news media, educational institutions, and the government can all work to turn our nation around, but the most important changes will be made by you and me, the American individuals. Each of us can control only our own behavior, but if we all take action individually, our actions will collectively have a significant impact on the direction of our nation. As individuals, we can educate ourselves and our children, cultivate the art of compromise, pray for wisdom, and hold our representatives accountable. Each of us can positively affect our nation just by making ourselves (and those in our spheres of influence) aware of the fact that we are being used as pawns by those who try to tell us what we should think as opposed to using our own common sense.

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