I often tend to think that this ought not be the case. Often, one thinks that the impossibility of communication is not really between honest researchers, but rather between "researches" used for the sake of a certain agenda. A devout Vaiṣṇava will probably not accept the results of a research written by, e.g., a Christian missionary who strives for the conversion of Vaiṣṇavas. However, it is very easy to claim that everyone has an agenda and that, hence, communication can never be possible. As a solution, I can suggest:
- 1. to make that agenda explicit. If I try to look like an objective scholar, only interested in data, but secretly (and possibly without being fully aware of it) seek to convert my readers, I will probably end up hurting the religious feelings of many of them. This will not necessarily happen if I start my study by proclaiming my faith (or my lack of faith, etc.) and try to do my best from within this departure-point.
- 2. to accept the existence of concurring points of view. One will never be able to "scientifically" show that the sentence "After praying to St. Therese, my head-ache disappeared" depicts an impossible event. To say the least, praying itself may have a healing effect. Hence, one should avoid regarding "religious" approaches as inherently unworthy.
- 3. viceversa, it is not the case that any critical study "destroys" one's religion, so that one has to defend it from "critical attacks". Even if one were to demonstrate that some facts about the hagiography of a certain saint are historically undemonstrated, why should this be felt as threatening one's faith? Isn't faith different from knowledge? If a religion were nothing more than a sequence of established facts, than what merit would one have in believing in it?
On not liking one's subject of study, see this post and its comments. On the problem of implicit paradigms, see this post.