A little word association:
permit – permission – authority – power
ask – beg – plead – pray
humility – distrust – fear
I have to apply for permits as part of my job, and I hate it. I don’t like asking for anything, because it subjects me to someone else’s authority. Who am I to be asking for favors from the powers that be? I have the power of a large company behind me, but some days I feel very small inside, and I feel like I am in a powerless position.
I have always had a distrust of authority figures, whether parents, teachers, or gods. I don’t want to like authority figures, and I certainly don’t want to be one. When my supervisor compliments me, I am always waiting for the sarcasm or the damning criticism that I am afraid will follow. This is learned behavior from childhood, reinforced by damaged people and taken to heart by a socially awkward kid whose personality was suffocated by an overbearing mother.
In religion, God is the ultimate authority figure, and he is one angry, mean son-of-a-bitch; do not trust him. My suspicion of authority figures is part of the reason I am an atheist.
[for the record: my supervisor is genuine when he compliments me on my work; he just doesn’t know how damaged I am.]