In both a good and bad way.
They can act as a guide for someone on a spiritual path.
Like Christ, Muhammad, Buddha are all symbols of a human at the peak of his game.
They can also trick people to believe that what they represent is real and right. That is how terrorist organizations recruit people into their cause.
When used in the right manner they can help us sail through life.
Like how Hindus use incense as a symbol of a clean environment and purity.
Holding the door for someone is a symbol of respecting other people. Organizations in hospitality use this to make their customers feel welcomed and valued.
A clean table may be a symbol that you are ready to end workday now.
You see you can use them in personal lives and business.
It is up to us to use our own intelligence and conscience to choose what is right for us and stay clear of what can pull it down.