This question came up recently in a discussion with a Christian friend. That friend felt that Christianity was superior to Islam because of the treatment reserved to women by Islam (we didn’t discuss the recent edict by the Vatican treating the ordination of women and pedophilia with seemingly the same severity).
As an atheist, I don’t much like any religion, but the question of whether one is better than another is interesting. The first step is to decide what constitutes a good religion.
For this friend as well for many of those who claim that Christianity is better than Islam, the reasons they give are related to liberal values: better treatment of women, better treatment of homosexuals, less racism, less anti-Semitism, less indoctrination of children, better separation of religion and state, more tolerance of other religions, less insistence on mindless rituals, more freedom to question, better record on human rights, etc.
What’s interesting however is that few if any of these liberal values are intrinsic to either Christianity or Islam, or for that matter, Judaism. These values were adopted by liberal wings of these religions against the will of the Orthodox / fundamentalist wishes and, more importantly, against the words of the scriptures they claim to believe in. It just so happens that Christians and Jews seem to have larger numbers of liberals among their ranks than do Muslims.
This comes down to saying that a better religion is a religion whose adherents are better able to ignore the religion’s scriptures. In other words, a better religion is a religion that is less religious.
My advice to my friends who feel this way is to take the next logical step and go for something even better: no religion at all. According to their own interpretation of a good religion, the lack of religion is the best “religion” possible.