Jon Snow: I'm not sure God is real

(PA)Jon Snow

Veteran newsreader Jon Snow has confessed that despite a religious upbringing, he is still unsure about whether God exists.

He has told the Radio Times that although he attends a small Saxon church near his home in Berkshire once or twice a month, where he enjoys "the contemplation, the hour of peace, the hymns and the community," it has not left him with a firm faith in an all-powerful God.

"I believe in the collective power of the human spirit," he says. "Is that who God is? I don't think my father [formerly the bishop of Whitby] would say so."

Mr Snow was a pupil at Ardingly College, which has a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition. His father, George D-Oyly Snow, was headmaster there.

It transpired in February that Mr Snow was abducted and abused aged just six years old by a member of staff at the college in 1953.  He praised those "courageous individuals" who came forward to share their own stories of abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

But despite remaining ambiguous about his own faith, Snow has not held back from criticising the teachings of church leaders.

He caused controversy among Catholics in a Channel 4 debate focussing on the Pope's statement that "condoms (even) aggravate the problem of aids" in 2009.

Snow argued that Pope Benedict was "condemning many innocent people in Africa to death," and went head to head with Catholic journalist and broadcaster Joanna Bogle, since describing the heated debate as one of the "fiercest" in which he has ever participated.

Another criticism from Snow has been that of the failure of the Church of England to ordain women bishops.

He has admitted he has a rebellious streak: "If you asked people around here, they'd say I was one of the most conservative forces in the newsroom – that's small 'C' – but there is a rebel in me."