Praying in front of idols made out of stone is a famous Hindu culture. As a child, I used to ask my parents a question
“What’s the use of praying in front of a statue made by a human being?”
“How can a statue connect us to the God”
I was too naive to understand such concepts at such a small age, and my parents simply asked me to “have faith”.
I could never get the answer to these questions even when I grew into an adult until I researched on this subject on my own, that is.
Both the Abrahamic faiths including Christianity and Islam do not understand the Hindu concept of idol-worshipping, often making fun of it as a consequence. It is imperative (Me being a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma) to enlighten people of this concept.
Hindus worship idols (which differ in shapes, forms and in the type of deity depending of various geographical cultures) in order to focus their mind on the divine. Hinduism is all about self-realization and in the realization of the infinite universe created by the divine. Since it is impossible to picture infinity in our mind, we imagine the existence of infinity in the finite sculpture, so that it is easier to realize the divine at a human level.
It is also worth mentioning that is not at all compulsory to worship idols in Hinduism, but it is useful for people who have lost their path by entangling themselves in the worldly activities and have lost the vision of the divine, or people who need help spiritually. So Hinduism should not be judged by idol worshipping without considering its background.
“External worship (material worship) is the lowest stage; struggling to rise high (mental stage) is the next stage, but the highest stage of spirituality is when the Lord has been realised” – Swami Vivekananda
Worth noting that idol worship, just like praying in a church in front of a cross, or a mosque are all one-and-the-same thing, and that is admiring the divine, the creator. Hinduism does not judge any form of worship, and instead of calling the journey of life to be from “false to the truth“, Hinduism states it as a journey from “lower truth to higher truth“.