Question: Is Deity Worship Idol Worship?
Many times people of other faith criticize us Hare Krishnas for worshiping idols. We explain to them that we don't worship idols but we worship Deity. Idol is concocted form whereas Deity is made according to the description of the Supreme Lord provided in the scripture.
I came across following passage from Holy Bible (Old Testament):
Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For he who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!'
Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!'
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.
How should we explain better to other people that our Deity worship is bona fide.
Answer: God Fully Manifests in the Authorized Deity Which is Worshipped with Love
If I put a facsimile of a mailbox in my front yard, it will not be authorized by the post office. I can mail letters in it as much as I want, but they will not go anywhere. But if I mail letters in a mail box authorized by the post office, they will go their destination, even if I live at a far distance from the post office.
An idol is an unauthorized "mail box", and a deity is an authorized "mail box." Even though the Lord is far away in His spiritual abode, He agrees to accept loving service and fully manifest His divine presence in the authorized deity form which is worshipped with love. The Bible condemns idol worship, just the Vedas condemn idol worship. The compilers of the Bible were not aware of the legitimacy of authorized deity worship, otherwise they would have recommended it in the Bible.