Talal Asad, a noted anthropologist who has made major contributions in the studies of Post-Colonialism, Christianity, and Islam, is known for his essay "Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam" in which he discusses the concept of power. It is important to note that when Asad refers to the concept of power he is referencing namely Christianity and to a lesser degree Islam. According to Asad, it is not symbols but rather power "ranging all the way from laws... and other sanctions... to the disciplinary activities of social institutions" that determines the practices and discourses that Christians enact and ultimately deigns what is Christian (Asad). Just as Christianity has evolved and changed over the last two millenia, so have its practices and beliefs such that some were "systematically excluded, forbidden,denounced" while others "were to be included, allowed, [even]praised" (Asad). Power resides with the majority that happens to be in power at the time and in the case of America it is Evangelical Christians.
In order to more thoroughly understand this concept we can look at Christian video games and more specifically Heaven, the game. In Heaven, you are an astronaut who during the course of your mission to Jupiter is saved by the Archangel Michael right before your plane is destroyed by an asteroid and is brought to Heaven. In the game you complete puzzles with the help of your guide, Axis, in order to reach the Throne of God. All of the images of Heaven and the creatures that are encountered throughout the game are based on passages from the Bible, mainly the Book of Revelation.
The combination of visually stunning graphics and scarcity of Bible verses make Heaven a possible tool that could be used to convert people to Christianity. In spite of its possible uses, many in the Christian community have denounced the game and claimed that it does not promote Christian ideals due to the character Axis. They find no fault with the way that she looks, but rather the way that she dresses. According to one poster, Axis is wearing clothes that "everybody (including their wife or girlfriend) will recognize as trashy" and that "Axis and her stripper boots will be the only thing that most people see here". By sexualizing and enhancing the female form through the use of clothing, game does not promote Christian values and has in turn been vilified by those that are in power, namely Evangelical Christians. Thus a game that is filled with Bible passages and imagery and tries to promote the religion of Christianity, can be excluded and denounced by the concept of power and those who wield it.
Using the concept of power, what makes a Christian game is not only determined by its content but also by the audience that is receiving it and playing with it.
Asad, Talal. "Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam."
The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1993. Print. "Som(a)niloquy » Heaven: The Game." Soma Games :: Terribiliter Magnificasti Me Mirabilia.
Web. 06 Dec. 2010. <http://www.somagames.com/somaniloquy/2009/10/15/heaven-the- game/>.