In the face of accident and death people recognize their cosmic helplessness. There is nothing new in this situation. It has an infantile prototype. For once before a person has been in such a state of helplessness: as a little child in one’s relationship to one’s parents. Infantile helplessness arouses the need for protection that the father supplies. The discovery of the adult that this helplessness will continue through the whole of one’s life makes it necessary to cling to the existence of a father—but this time a more powerful one, the father in heaven. It is a tremendous relief for the individual psyche if it is released from the conflicts of childhood arising out of the father complex. One fears the father, though at the same time one seeks his protection against dangers. We give god the characteristics of the father.
Sigmund Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents