Intercultural communication presents an array of well-known and much-discussed challenges, including the difficulties of engaging in productive dialogues regarding cultural assumptions, the problems of translation, tensions between macro-level value systems and the uniqueness of individual cultures, and challenges to developing communication technologies that are culturally appropriate (Kostelnick, 1995; Maylath, 1997; Thatcher, 2006; Sun, 2012). When addressing the diverse dimensions of religious culture, there is the added obstacle that understanding another’s religion can sometimes become entwined with how people feel about their own deeply held religious values and assumptions (Jackson, 2004). Special obstacles to understanding can arise in relation to religion because an individual’s own religious truth claims may prevent them from coming to terms with how another religion orders the world. For this reason, faculty members teaching American university students about less familiar religions frequently find they need to attend to sophisticated methodological and epistemological considerations in the instructional context, even from an introductory level. Special efforts are needed to help students learn to engage diverse perspectives, especially when they are quite different from their own.

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