As much of a christian as he was, I think his ideas were the first steps towards the truth. He was the first one who questioned the church and won. He at least let common Christians actually READ the bible, instead of just telling them what they should believe because "the bible said so". It goes down the line from Luther, to the Deists of the Enlightenment, to the intellectuals of the early 20th century, and to the current New Atheist movement, which makes this quote really ironic if you think about it.
I have Luther's "Works" on my computer and I went looking for the references you gave below for the quote from the above work.
The one I found that comes closest is from Volume 40, it states, "Let this be our answer to the arguments and reasons that Dr. Karlstadt presents for his dream from Scripture. They were threefold. First, a capital letter is found in some books, not all. Second, there was a punctuation mark. Third, the dear touto. What wonderful arguments, which no one would use except such heavenly prophets, who hear the voice of God. A fourth now is, that he cannot present a single verse of Scripture in his favor. This is the most damaging argument and will forever remain so. I shall not overthrow it but will rather strengthen it. Furthermore he teaches us what Frau Hulda*, natural reason, has to say in the matter, just as if we did not know that reason is the devil’s prostitute and can do nothing else but slander and dishonor what God does and says. But before we answer this arch-prostitute and devil’s bride, we first want to prove our faith, not by setting forth capitals or periods or touto tauta but by clear, sober passages from Scripture which the devil will not overthrow."
* The editor's footnote reads, "In Germanic mythology, Frau Hulda is the name of the leader of a group of elfin creatures who were looked upon as the instigators of good and evil among men. Like them Frau Hulda is of a capricious nature, now friendly, now hostile especially in times when disorder arises among men. She may therefore be regarded as a personification of order and clever reasoning. However, in matters of faith Luther looked upon reason as seductive, hence as 'the devil’s prostitute.'"
Keeping up with the idea of Luther's works is difficult, I probably should have just said Erlangen Edition v. 16 Rather than works, which is where I believe the quote comes from. Here is a website that sets them out a bit for you, beggarsallreformation.blogspot…
That same bit of rhetoric was also referenced at least as early as 1928 by Jacques Maritain in Three Reformers, and can be found referenced in many other places. I confess I have not read the Erlangen Edition myself, but I do like to make sure there is very little chance that a quote is false before I use it.
I have made mistakes, and I hope that this isn't another one, but I do have reason to believe that it isn't.
I am quoting from Jaroslav Pelikan's edition, which is the standard English work used in most universities. Do you know what works are covered in Erlangen's Edition volume 16? The work I cited was "Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matter of Images and Sacraments."
I am interested in finding out the exact quote, because there is debate on whether Luther believed in fideism or not. I have read a far share of Luther and would contend he isn't against reason. He was very skeptical about the medieval scholastic tradition, however. Combined with his extreme bluntness, one could find some select quotes that could be misleading.
Calvin, on the other hand, was much more precise, and his writings on the relationship between faith and reason are fascinating.
I'm afraid I don't know, I believe that the Erlangen Edition is one of the larger collections with 68 German volumes, 38 Latin writings, 18 volumes of letters, and Luther's commentary on Galatians in 3 volumes, mostly published separately.
My personal knowledge of this subject is actually very lacking and I'm sure that yours is much better. I'll be honest I was just looking through random quotes online when I found it, I did check up on it to make sure that there was a good basis to believe he actually said what he was supposed to, but I have not read the original writings myself.
Thank you for the labors and sharing your thoughts, it is most kind. Again, the relation of Luther with fideism interests me.
I did look through your webpage and you seem quite passionate about your atheism. If you would ever be interested in a friendly chat/debate about atheism I would be open to it. I have an interest in religion, philosophy and the relationship between faith and reason.