Diana Nyad is the 64-year-old marathon swimmer who made headlines around the world last month after swimming from Cuba to Florida, a 110-mile trip, without a protective cage. It took her about 53 hours. (Her record earned her no shortage of attention from skeptics, too.)
Yesterday, she appeared on Oprah Winfrey‘s “Super Soul Sunday” (a show you never heard about until this moment and will never watch again after finishing this post) to talk about her religious beliefs:
Here’s what awesome: It turns out Nyad is an atheist. She’s a Humanist, really, who sees something amazing and beautiful in the way we all interact and love one-another. She is amazed by the natural world. She believes it’s all over when she’s dead. She’s also very non-confrontational about her beliefs — if you believe in God, okay, no problem, but she doesn’t. She also has this wishy-washy idea of what a soul is — she calls it a “spirit” — and she believes it lives on after we’re gone. You could argue she’s really talking about a legacy or memory that we leave behind, something that’s not-at-all supernatural.
Here’s what’s not awesome: Oprah takes Nyad’s statement of “I’m an atheist who’s in awe” and suggests that Nyad isn’t really an atheist.
Oprah the Theologian proceeds to have one of the most awkward faith-based conversations you’ll ever hear with someone who doesn’t seem to understand how the host is trying to steer her away from outright proclaiming her godlessness: