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Do altars matter?

An altar presents a structure supporting the arrangement of ceremonial items for worship. The articles offer symbolic representations of belief systems. The altar serves as a point of worshipping and reinforcing these beliefs. Most religions use altars for these purposes. Alars can be on a large scale for public use or erected in one’s home for private use. The physical structure of altars is similar in most religions, as are many individual items. These items often include food, drink, candles, idols, incense and symbolic craft items. The exact purpose of these items is often obscure and only apparent to the religious worshipper. Thus the altar represents a specific belief system meaningful to the believer but mysterious to the uninitiated.
Below, the left images show voodoo altars and the pictures to the right display Buddhist altars. By what measure can one establish which underlying belief system represents the more reasonable point of view? Certainly not by the heuristics displayed, as far as I can see. 

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