Christians have this tendency to scathingly reduce paganism to a false religion that worships idols. First, paganism is an old religion that was around before monotheism became an idea. The monotheistic concept came from a cult that worshiped one God over the others and it then became popular and acceptable. How do we figure this? Well there are two examples from two pagan religions at the time that showed an attempt at solely worshiping one God over the others. With the Greeks, there was a small cult devoted to Zeus as being the only God and the others being archetypes and not true Gods. The Egyptian religion was almost extinguished by Akhenaten who tried to forced his monotheism on the Egyptian people. However, he failed and a lot of his imagery in hieroglyphs were vandalized because of his heresy. So if these two examples, that happened after the advent of monotheism, and the archaeological evidence piling up showing there was some type of polytheism where the monotheistic God Yahweh was a part of then it only shows that monotheism is nothing more than an offshoot of polytheism where one God was revered above all others.
Second, the idea of idols has an empty, hollow overtone to it and I’m sure it’s meant that way, but our pagan religions are filled with life and vibrancy. It’s far from being empty or hollow, it has content. We worship real, living Gods where the idols we worship are imbibed with their spiritual essence. In other words, it’s a way to invite the Gods into our homes and lives. They don’t simply step through the threshold like an intruder. We invite them. It’s not a hard concept to follow and stays in tune with the idea of free will given to us by the Gods.
In conclusion, the idea of idol worship being seen as empty is nonsense. There’s more to it than what monotheists believe. Our religion is as valid as theirs and that’s something they can not take away from us ever again unless we allow it. So, educate them on their ‘idol worship’ epithet they try to use against us. Tell them that it means more than what they believe.