An idol is any created thing, whether a picture, statue, or idea, that replaces the essence of God in worship. In this regard, there are many Hindus, who use statues and icons, who do not worship idols, and many Christians, who replace the true God with an image derived of their own human reason, who do worship idols.
Idolatry is a sin, not because statues are involved, but because the statues, pictures, or ideas attempt to take the glory away from the Creator and give it to the creation. If one worships the true God, faithful to the spirit rather than the foolishness of human wisdom, using a statue as a means to focus your thoughts on God is perfectly legitimate. It is for this reason that when the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha held an interfaith dialogue conference, the Jewish representatives affirmed alongside the Hindus that Hindus do not worship idols.
It’s all about what’s in the heart.
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