Are Buddhists idol worshippers and pagans since they pray and bow in the direction of statues?

Idol worship is a concept which exists in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These three religions worship the same deity in actuality, although their recognition on the validity of later prophets, revelations and religious laws differs. According to the Webster's dictionary, an idol is "An image or material object representing a deity and worshipped as such; (in the Bible) a deity other than God." Likewise, pagans are defined as "People observing a polytheistic religion; people who are not Christian, Jewish or Muslim." These definitions in our own "English" dictionary clearly reflect the bias and illogical thought process to which the conclusion (that Buddhists are idol worshippers) is made: Any religion or belief, which is not one's own religion, tradition or belief, is wrong and evil. This concept is due to arrogance and ethnocentrism; idol worship is simply a negative term that ethnocentrist apply to people of another faith. If idol worship is simply the "materialization" of something on earth as "divine," then all religions can be accused of this. Within the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions "things of the earth" are considered to be a divine object of devotion. In Christianity, the Eucharist is considered holy. Christians kneel down in Church before a cross and, in some sects, statues of Christian saints. In Judaism, the Torah (the written word of their God) is an object of high reverence. The original and duplicated tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them are objects of worship. Muslims pray and bow daily facing Mecca, their holy city; they do not face any other direction. Those who are cynical towards practitioners of western religions might ask: Is their God only residing in Mecca? Does that written slab of paper or stone contain God's divine presence? Does that bread, wine or statue contain special powers? These cynical questions are not only rude but ridiculous, because any Jew, Christian or Muslim knows that these objects and places are a means by which they remember, recall and respect their God. Likewise, those who view Buddhist statues as bizarre idols are akin to the same type of individuals who misunderstand the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious objects and places of worship as idol worship. Objects of worship are meant as a reminder and skillful way for humans to under- stand and relate to religion. Western individuals who misunderstand Buddhism, since Buddhist has objects of worship, must review this misunderstanding since their own religious traditions contain practices with objects of worship.