To that end, McCall said the vast majority of people who join AOK are coming from a religious background of some kind, and whatever their former denomination, most are used to having a network of people to turn to for support. And that network may or may not disappear depending on each family, community, and individual. But whatever the situation, finding other non-believers helps to alleviate some of the stress by providing a safe place to vent frustrations, worries, and more.
“When someone new joins, of course we want to know where their coming from and we want to know their background.” said McCall, “Everybody has a different coming out story and so that’s always great to hear how they overcame that, and if they’re still having problems with family, coworkers, or friends. We try to share stories to deal with that so they don’t have to feel so mean and militant, which is how most people perceive Atheists to be. We give them different ways to cope. And after awhile people stop talking about the whole religion thing, and it becomes more like, ‘Hey, I’m meeting a group of friends here.’”
‘Support’ really is the key word I would use to describe OKC Atheists.
If you want to know how to create a *fantastic* atheist group– not how to talk about a ‘safe place’ on the internet, but how to actually create a supportive environment in the real world, you should be talking to folks like Red and the OKC Atheist leadership board.