Moby-Dick is far ahead of its time with respect to its views on religion. The novel shows equal respect for a wide variety of religious traditions and, at the same time, not-so-gently mocks the foolishness of religious extremism. In this novel, tribal pagans and New England Christians seem pretty similar – and frequently the pagans seem more ethical than some of the Christians around them. In contrast to both this complexly egalitarian attitude toward religiosity and the heavy satire that accompanies some of the religious commentary, the novel also uses a great deal of Biblical symbolism, especially in the names and allegorical roles of characters.
Moby-Dick explodes and undercuts all types of religious faiths, showing that pragmatism, moderation, and affection are the only true moral principles – and that unhealthy obsession is the greatest sin.
Even though Moby-Dick mocks Christian hypocrisy, its reliance on Biblical references demonstrates an underlying religious orthodoxy.