From the CARM boards, an interaction with someone I think is an atheist:
Swan: In Luther’s theology, faith is a gift from God.
Atheist: Why is faith a gift from God? Faith is exactly what is required to propagate a religion based on a non-existence God. You could not build a false religion without it. Why would such a quality be a gift from God?
Swan: I will not debate fundamental presuppositions with you- intellectual honesty demands that at some level, every person has faith based presuppositions.What I will do though is give a look inside Luther's thought.For Luther, the God people construct in their heads is not the God that revealed Himself to the world. When people construct "god," they typically create an angry all consuming powerful omnipotence. For Luther, God appears where you would least likely find Him: hanging and dying on a cross in weakness, being punished as a criminal. "Reason" would never construct a god like this. This God requires faith to believe in, and that faith is a gift.