Martin McGuinness has described himself as “a very broad-minded Christian” in an interview with a leading Christian broadcaster and publishing company.
The Sinn Fein deputy first minister was speaking ahead of the launch of Premier’s Media & Resources Centre for Northern Ireland.
“I would describe myself as a Catholic,” he said, but added that others may disagree with his personal view on the matter.
In a video interview with Premier, he also said that his faith had been an important factor in finding “common ground” with the then DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley during the peace process.
“I believe that something created this beautiful planet; it’s just so extraordinary in the universe that I can come to no other conclusion.
“But I am influenced by Jesus Christ. He – if the history books are as accurate as people claim them to be – was someone who was very special.
“I’m prepared to accept he was the Son of God. I do believe that there’s a God out there and I do believe he was the Son of God,” Mr McGuinness added.
Premier Christianity magazine describes the organisation as “connecting Christians to each other” despite our tribal tendencies.
“We all know we have tribal tendencies – we attend conferences to hear speakers we agree with, we read books by the same speakers and we mix less and less with people who think differently. We don’t think it should be this way,” a Premier spokesman said.
First Minister Arlene Foster helped host a reception at Stormont last night to mark Premier’s official launch in the Province.
Mrs Foster also took part in a video interview with a representative from Premier, who asked her about her childhood in rural Fermanagh, the IRA murder attempt on her father when she was 16, and whether she prayed for her political opponents.
“I think that’s what the Bible tells us to do - we have to pray for our enemies, as well as our friends,” she said.
“When we are in church and we pray for political leaders, we have to pray for all of our political leaders, and I think that is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Asked if she hoped to go to Heaven and be reunited with lost loved ones, the first minister said: “It is a hope. When you are sometimes challenged by people who don’t have faith, and who challenge you about what you believe and the fundamentals about what you believe, the answer I have back to them is that I would rather have hope than have no hope.”