In a conversation with Nyad on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Super Soul Sunday, Winfrey seemed baffled that the 64-year-old swimmer could be an atheist and “a person who is deeply in awe.”

“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,” Nyad, who recently completed a swim from Cuba to Florida explained. “So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”

“Well, I don’t call you an atheist then,” Winfrey replied. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery that that is what God is. That is what God is. It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”