The connection between the way society views morality and the understanding of god that the members of that society also possess can be viewed through a number of literature and art sources that define the society. Considering that there have been transitions between Polytheism, Henotheism, Monotheism, and Pantheism, one can easily view these connections in order to have a better understanding of the social values and ways of life that were historically present on into the modern society.
From believing in many gods (polytheism), many gods with one being supreme (henotheism), only one god (monotheism), or god as nature (pantheism), the world artist have developed masterpieces which reflect these beliefs. These works of art have then portrayed to the general society how an individual should react to situations in life as well as how morality should be approached. This, in essence, shows that the beliefs have influenced the artwork in society just as much as the artwork has influenced the belief sets. This connection between the belief in religion, the works in the humanities, and the morality in a society can be best viewed through the help seeking concepts and the role that emotions play in making morally sound decisions.
The decision for an individual to seek help is closely related to the views of the society and the belief as to whether or not the help would likely be available based on the social views of morality. According to Smith and Simmonds (2006), this is also linked to the beliefs in the paranormal which can often be prompted through artwork as the confirmation of shared beliefs is found through the humanities. Specifically, Smith and Simmonds (2006) state that “paranormal, spiritual and religious belief systems provide a sense of direction and personal meaning in people’s lives” (pg. 340). Therefore, any media or artwork which promotes a particular belief would also influence the way that the members of society view the meaning of life and the way that they determine the foundations of morality.
This is also achieved through utilizing the emotions of the members of society to elicit certain reactions and viewpoints. Olatunji and Puncochar (2014) explain that morality is founded on the notion that some actions are right and others are wrong. Based on the religious beliefs, these may be viewed as good and evil. However, these are not only founded in the religious texts but also subject to a number of outside influences. The way that a person determines right from wrong can be based on the teachings in the society or family as well as intrinsic motivators or emotional reactions.
Olatunji and Puncochar (2014) question if emotions such as anger and disgust play a role in whether or not an individual determines an action to be wrong or evil and, if so, what basis these emotions are influenced by in the society. For example, in consideration of crimes, one would question what images foster these images and where these images were viewed. The general responses that were found were religious teachings, political influences, familial values, and presentations within the humanities.
How an individual views the world is based on a number of influences, but the way that one can witness these views can be found in the works of art from the society. This is not to suggest that the artwork reflects the original views, but rather that the views are reflective of the artwork as well. A large number of changes have occurred in the beliefs regarding religion and the supernatural, but one thing has remained the same. The influences that these beliefs have on society determine the laws, politics, and images of what is to be considered right and wrong.