Advent practices, like wearing a crucifix, praying before meals or crossing one's self, is a subversive act in a culture that would have us stripped of all our religiosity in the public square. Inherent in lighting an Advent candle, though, is the preposterous idea that there is a God who is the uncreated embodiment of Love and whose Light we can and should strive to show to our fellow human beings who share this planet with us.Lighting a candle in hope is not just a pious, religious act, it's a political act, a subversive one, and a prophetic one, as dangerous as brandishing a firearm.
To light an advent candle is to say, in the face of all that suggests the contrary, that God is still alive, still Lord of this world, and, because of that, "all will be well, and all will be well, and every manner of being will be well," irrespective of the evening news."
To give in to the Atheistic world view that all religion is inherently evil in its base philosophy is to pay attention only to the admittedly evil people who have inhabited our world throughout history and ignore the teachings themselves.
Christianity teaches that Christ is the Light of the world and that our job as Christians is to spread that Light to others. When we fail, as we do many times a day, and often horrifically, we are to repent--turn around and go in the opposite direction--lean on God's Love and continue to strive.