I'm looking for information on what happens when god (notice the lack of capitalization) dies. That is, what happens when a heartfelt, all-important belief system is shattered. I'd like information from both a sociological perspective (i.e., how does an entire society, as an organism itself, respond) and from an psychological perspective (how does an individual react, etc.). Any type of insight into this would be good -- firsthand accounts, historical examples, theoretical surmisings, etc.
The basic jist of the story, which takes place on a ringed planet I've yet to create, is that this culture has deified the planetary rings, turning them literally into their god, and what happens to that culture when those rings suddenly vanish. I'm intending to get at this through the stories of a few different people, like the priest-king who wants to retain control over his people, a couple whose love was proscribed by the religion, and a priest who truly believed everything.
The culture is primitive. I mean, they believe rings are gods, of course! But not too primitive, you know? I'm thinking something along the lines of ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, something like that. (Please, don't let this turn into a discussion about whether or not we can call those cultures 'primitive.')
I live in a very small town with a library that's lucky to get in the new bestsellers, so print books are hard to come by. So I've done some simple searching online -- searching various pair-ups of words like 'death' or 'disintegration' and 'god' or 'religion' or 'belief' -- but most things come up relate to Nietzsche or other such things centered in our modern world, which obviously doesn't apply. As I said, any insight would be appreciated.
I do realize the individual reaction to something like this would be very nuanced, but I'm sure there are categories or common reactions, etc. That's the sort of things I'm looking for... but again, any advice would be great!