Religious Jews when asked to justify their beliefs will most likely use just one argument. This is an extremely common Jewish argument. They also, not surprisingly, think it is foolproof, that this is the ultimate argument that justifies Judaism.
The argument is the following. Every religion that has existed is based on the testimony of one person. Islam is based on the testimony of Muhammad. Muhammad had his teachings, told it to his followers, and that lead to Islam. Christianity is based on the testimony of Jesus to his disciples. Buddhism is based on the testimony of Buddha. Mormonism (or like I like to call it, "moronism", but I am sure everybody already spotted this obvious pun by now) is based only on the testimony of Joseph Smith and the magic tablets that only he saw. Judaism is different. Judaism is the only religion in the entire world that has its origin in front of an entire congregation. The reason why the false (non-Jewish) religions are based on a single individual is because if a person wants to keep a lie he needs to keep it by himself. Many people cannot keep a lie. Just one person would be enough to discredit the entire lie. The revelation on Sinai happened in front of millions of people. Clearly, it must have been true. One person can make up a lie and then spread it so that others believe. But if millions of people saw revelation then it was witnessed by its followers then Judaism could have not been fabricated as a lie. If a person or people were trying to make people accept Judaism they would fail to convert the people because the people would immediately realize they were not present at the revelation. The only way that the Jews can believe in that they had a revelation at Sinai is in the case if this actually happened.
My goal here is defeat this argument completely. Instead of giving a simple refutation for it I want to approach it from many different positions so that the argument is destroyed entirely. Destroyed to the point that no Jewish person would be able to use it. I wonder what other kind of argument they would use. I never even heard any other arguments for Judaism but this one. Well, there is one more, but it is not a good argument, basically the argument is that if there is a correct religion in the world it must be Judaism. I say it is a bad argument because it does not show Judaism is correct, it only says why Judaism has to be correct provided there is a correct religion. The argument I want to see is an argument for Judaism from start, not in the middle with the assumption there is a correct religion.
To start with a simple observation is that Judaism also began with one person. It all comes down to the testimony of Avraham himself, he is the first person to live by the teachings of Judaism. But this is an irrelevant point, because the Jewish believer will still tell me that Judaism cannot be passed down to its believers if it was witnessed by so many people later in the future with Moshe. Thus what I just said is not a refutation to their argument but just an observation. My observation is that if we can show that Judaism is false, and all those witnesses never existed, then it will have to be the case that it originated by one person too (whoever Avraham even was). But my observation will only be applicable provided I can refute the argument for Judaism, as I will soon do.
There is something about this argument for Judaism that has always bothered me. Namely, just one simple argument is enough to verify all of Judaism? What about the divinity of the Tanach, and what about the divinity of the Talmud, and everything else in which Jewish people belief today? In science when one wants to verify a claim a lot of work is done to support that. It is not some simple argument contained in one paragraph, a lot of work needs to be done. So it surprises me when Jewish believers think that this one argument is enough to settle all of Judaism. It is just too simple to address everything. The most it can address is that Judaism has been taught to Moshe and to the people on Sinai. But there is still a long way to go to verify the Judaism of today. This argument is just not enough. But whatever, I will nonetheless defeat this argument.
Their argument says that there were millions of people who witnessed the great miracles of God. But how do we know that? From which source do we know that? We cannot use the Torah. If we use the Torah to show that then we are committing circular reasoning. We are saying that the Torah is true because there were millions of people who witnessed the event, we know millions of people witnessed the event because that is what the Torah says. If this is the main argument for Judaism then it is a terrible argument because it is just circular reasoning. However, the Jewish believer will object to me and say it is not a circular argument because their argument is that if Judaism was false then you cannot make its practitioners believe in Judaism if Judaism claims grand miracles in front of large congregations. So it is a sneaky argument, they almost turn it into circular reasoning.
So it is not circular reasoning, it is a different kind of fallacy, I would say that it is an argument from ignorance. The argument is that we cannot see how it is possible to make so many people believe in witnessed miracles and revelations that it must be that it was really true. I recognize that calling this argument for Judaism an argument from ignorance is not exactly an argument from ignorance but if I had to put a name on it, it would be an argument from ignorance.
I have already explained how Jewish beliefs may have developed. If you read this and this, I offer an explanation to how Judaism could have developed. Of course, the Jewish believer would object to me and say that if Judaism had no grand claims or revelations and miracles then my explanation for the development of Judaism would be fine, however, since Judaism has claims of grand revelations it must be the case that it could have not been invented by people.
Now I will get to the serious error of the argument for Judaism. This argument assumes that the Torah was written at the time of Moshe and the incident of Sinai. Refer to this to understand why the Torah could have not been written by Moshe, nor anywhere close to his time (assuming he even existed). The Jewish believer does not demonstrate that the Torah is from the time of Moshe. This is the fundamental implicit assumption in this entire argument. The argument rests on the idea that if you have people and you give them a book that talks about grand revelations and miracles then they would never accept it because these revelations were a witnessed event. However, the Torah was written a long time after. Therefore, what happened was that the Jewish believers had the beliefs and ideas that their past generations came from a time of great miracles and revelations. Then the Torah was compiled with the teachings the people already believed at that time.
It is not difficult at all to make the current generation believe in great miracles from a long time ago. This has been already done by many other religions (when Jews say that they are the only religion with witnessed great miracles they are wrong about it). For example, consider Islam. In Islam many Muslims believe in that Muhammad split the moon. Clearly, splitting the moon is a grand miracle, something that can be observed by everyone (that is not blind) in the world. How can these Muslims believe in this if it never actually happened? The answer is exactly the same as I gave above. In truth, Muhammad did not have to preform this miracle in front of people. All what had to happen was for Muhammad to have followers who believed in him and respected him. Stories developed about the great miraculous man Muhammad by the followers. Once that has happened it was easy to convince the current generation by the made up accumulated beliefs of the previous generations. The same can also be said about the Miracle of the Sun. This is something that did not happened a thousand years ago, this happened less than a hundred years ago. Many ten-thousands of people have witnessed the miracles in the sky that represented Virgin Mary. It is easy to see how that can be incorporated into their religion. These people were Christians who already believed in Christianity. They seen a natural event which they were so amazed by that they attributed it to Christianity. Then they taught their children about the great miracle that happened in front of everybody. This story was passed down from generation to generation. And if the current generation was to write down the story of this event they would attribute to it grand miracles that were witnessed by so many people. This is exactly how Judaism developed its stories of grand miracles.
Exodus does not even mention such grand miracles. Read the portion in Exodus which talks about the revelation at Sinai and the splitting of the Reed Sea. It says something about the sea splitting. The revelation at Sinai is even less miraculous, it talks about thunder and lightning. The supposed documentations of these miracles themselves in the Torah is not as glorious as believed by the Jewish people. The medreish (a Jewish book allegedly containing the oral tradition) glorifies these miracles. Much of what cannot be found in the Torah is found in the medreish. For example, there is a medreish in how the sea split and the Jewish people were able to walk through a decorated pathway in between the sea with fountain water flowing from outside the sea into their mouths. Where is that in the Torah? The interesting thing is that many medreishim contradict each other. One says one version of the story and another says another version of the story. In that case we can immediately raise a question. If one cannot make up a lie in front of many witnesses then how can a medreish be wrong if it is the supposed oral tradition? Very simple answer, as anticipated by what said above, the medreishim where not written at their time but many many years afterwords. This is why it is possible to invent a story of grand miracles.
With the argument for Judaism defeated there is absolutely no reason to believe in Judaism anymore. There is just no rational basis to accept Judaism with a complete lack of arguments for it. If the Jewish believer after reading this still believes in Judaism then it can only be because he wants to believe in Judaism. This is not how skeptical thinking works. We do not wish for something to be true and then try to find steps to justify it, we do it the other way around. We form conclusions from what we already know. Jews believe in Judaism because that is how they been brought up. Instead of coming to conclusions from what we already know in a skeptical manner they try to find whatever justification they can to believe in Judaism. These justifications are all weak (like the main argument for Judaism) because they are trying to defend something which is false but they still hold on to them. Because they already made up their mind to believe in Judaism. I am curious myself to even know if a religious Jew will still use the main argument for Judaism after reading this. He probably will. He will ignore all the problems that have been exposed with this argument and just pretend it is a satisfactory argument because he wants Judaism to be true. At least they would know on their subconscious level that they are wrong. There is just no reason to believe in Judaism anymore, free your minds from tyranny, I promise it is not bad, you would not regret it.