WATCH: Tony Perkins and The Friendly Atheist Debate Science, Gender and Religion in Fox News Segment

Hemant Mehta (R) and Tony Perkins on FOX News on The Ingraham Angle on November 23, 2018. | (YouTube/ Hemant Mehta via FOX News)

Conservative Christian Tony Perkins and Hemant Mehta of The Friendly Atheist sparred over survey findings that Americans value family over religion, along with the definition of gender.

Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, appeared with Mehta in a Fox News segment on The Ingraham Angle on Friday, where the two gave their opposing views on a number of controversial topics.

Segment host Raymond Arroyo brought up a survey by Pew Research Center from September 2017, re-released last week, that found that 69 percent of Americans say that they find a sense of meaning in family.

Only 20 percent voted for the “Spirituality and faith” category in the open-ended question, below those who pointed to money, at 23 percent, and careers, at 34 percent.

Arroyo asked Perkins whether the results show that America is indeed seeing a dwindling of faith, to which the conservative leader replied:

“Actually I’m thrilled by this, that family is so high ranked in this survey, that people say that family is where they get their sense of meaning. That’s actually a positive revival of family if you will. I think if you look at how the United States economy is doing; the unemployment is low; it’s not surprising that religion actually drops down lower.

He added: “In this list it’s still 4th. That’s actually still pretty good, considering what’s happening in other industrialized nations. When there’s a downturn in the economy, when things start to fall apart, that’s when people turn to religion.”

Perkins insisted that “from a sociological standpoint, I think this (survey) is accurate, [but] from a theological standpoint it is a bit troubling.”

Mehta agreed that the results should indeed be “troubling for religion.”

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit that people find meaning in family. What actually surprised me the least about this is when they looked at young people specifically, I think faith became less of a meaningful experience for people who were younger than the age of 30.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov