I posted a comment on The Jesus Manifesto today. My key point was in response to the author's remark, "In my mind, as hokey as it sounds, everyone must to submit to something outside themselves."
Here's what I said:
Why do you think so? Because I can't know everything myself? Of course I depend on other people for knowledge, but I am responsible for judging what I hear, and deciding whether or not it is credible enough to act on.
To me, the only thing I see any reason to "submit to" is reality. Over the years, I rejected many of the contradictory and "unscriptural" teachings I encountered. I never found a teacher or book (including the Bible) that seemed entirely credible. My idea (adopted from several of my friends) was that I would submit only to God--not to the Bible, not to my image of God, but only to God himself. To me, God was the only and ultimate authority. My problem was that I couldn't find a way to communicate with God reliably. Eventually, I realized that the whole idea of God was one I had accepted from my parents, teachers, and friends, and that I didn't believe in God anymore.