“An atheist attended a school of theology?!?! Can atheists even study theology?”
Why not? Theology isn’t magical. It’s just what various individuals have claimed about religion over the course of several thousand years. Anything in the past is a review of history (which atheists study) or literature (which atheists study), and any work being done in the field today simply requires rational thought following the assumption of a hypothesis (which atheists do all the time – and some would argue we do it better than others). I’m perfectly capable of looking at theology through atheist eyes. I’m even capable of doing it without acting as a counter-apologist.
“Why would you care about theology in the first place?”
A rejection of god-belief is actually a very specific idea, but it is frequently conflated with ignorance of or disinterest in religion. You see this in the claim “atheists worship science,” as if we’re trading one god for another. We aren’t; the idea of worshiping anything is absurd. Many things in the world are interesting without being needful of worship. Religion is one of those things. Cupcakes are another.
“Who do you think you are, anyway? I’m an atheist and I don’t care about justice/human kindness/living in a world where young black men don’t get shot/etc.!!!”
Current atheist thought is not unified, so I’m certainly not the designated spokesperson. What the atheist movement is, how it should behave and advance, who should speak for it and who it should include, what the end-goals are…all of this is up for grabs. I’m not interested in speaking for movement atheism. With that in mind, I certainly have a political agenda as a social change activist. I’m just being intellectually honest when I explain that social change and atheism are inextricably related for me.
“Why do you hate God?”
Why do you hate Santa Claus?