Hindus have for centuries been called idol worshippers by the ill informed, and we have reacted either in anger or shame. Either way we avoid responding to such allegations against our religion. If we ourselves do not know the answer, how can we give a just and well informed response.
The answer, is not stooped in religious or scientific jargon but is a simple one. Hindu’s do not worship the physical idol, which is made out of clay or stone, all we do is use it as a symbol. As one would look at a picture of a departed loved one and become sad or a Christian would look at the cross and think of Christ, so to do we use different images to think of our God’s.There is nothing to be ashamed or angry about, Hindu’s are not the only religion who use symbols for purposes of worship. To a Catholic the image of Jesus on a cross symbolises the sacrifice Jesus made in order to save man from his sins. These are statues (or idols) made of stone as well and appear in churches around the world, does it not serve the same purpose as a statue of Hanuman in a temple?
In recent times, more especially since the hit movie “the Secret” personal development experts have encouraged people to have vision boards, and behave as if you are already are in possession of the thing that you want. How is this different from holding images of God in-front of you? Is it not then idol worship if you hold images of success and wealth before you, and why should one be acceptable and the other not?
It is ignorance that causes one to condemn another persons faith. A knowledgeable person would dare not take up such a debate for he realises that it is a sin in itself to do so.