1. Didn't have the same experience at all, knew exactly what was going on. The woman you're talking about was someone who knew the gods were fabricated by people. Imagine the threat that carries to any religion. Also: Eothas, Magran, Woedica, Hylea, Berath, Abydon...just off the top of my head, and I can remember more just not spell them properly!
2. O.o - you're complaining about the difficulty being too easy in a game that has a difficulty setting? Turn the difficulty up?
3. Lol? There's plenty to spend it on. There's lots of unique items you can buy from vendors that are actually very strong. I spent over 100k gold.
4. I like the Stronghold section of the game but I agree it wasn't integrated into the game in a meaningful way. I was hoping for something like the keep in NWN2.
5. I'll admit the companions generally weren't that strong. For me a notable exception was Durance whose personal quest/story also links into the main quest/story as well.
6. Depends on the side quest, many were good with real consequences.
Honestly, with cRPGs you've always had to allow yourself to be sucked in to the world somewhat in order to find meaning in sidequests etc. For example, if you don't care that a kid was shanked by 2 rapists because it's just a game then maybe cRPGs aren't for you?