Swimmer Diana Nyad recently set a world record by swimming 110 miles from from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
As painful as that 53-hour swim was, it may come in second to her recent interview on Oprah Winfrey's “Super Soul Sunday” (video below).
The talk show host gently badgered Nyad to admit that she was "spiritual" just like herself, noted Patheos.com.
"Do you consider yourself an atheist?" asked Winfrey.
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"I am an atheist," responded Nyad.
"But you're in 'awe,'" replied a skeptical Winfrey.
“I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity, all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered,” stated Nyad. “So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”
Winfrey insisted, "Well, I don’t call you an atheist then, I think if you believe in the awe."
The talk show host, who has claimed numerous times that she is "spiritual," but does not believe in any specific religion, asked Nyad, "Do you consider yourself a spiritual person, even as an atheist?
Nyad finally gave in and said, "I do. I don’t think there’s any contradiction in those terms. I think you can be an atheist who doesn’t believe in an overarching Being who created all of this and sees over it. But there’s spirituality because we human beings, and we animals, and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it."
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Winfrey also declared Nyad a "spiritual person" on her website: "Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad says she considers herself a spiritual person and an atheist. Watch her eye-opening round of Soul to Soul."