Since I declined to accept the truth of Richard’s tenets, I will explain my challenge to each in turn, and then describe my alternate explanation for the persistence of belief in God, religion, and worship.
Richard first asks if an all-knowing, all-loving, omnipresent God exists. I argue no on all three grounds: First, an all-knowing God would know the future, and knowing the future makes God inconsequential. Second, an all-loving God would have no reason to allow random suffering, or to choose a particular people—He would protect and share his love and word with all His children. Finally, an omnipresent God cannot be extra-systemic—and could therefore not have made the universe.
If God knows everything, then He knows the future. But this robs Him—and humans as well—of free will and agency. Nothing even God does can possibly change the future if even one entity already knows what it will be. If God knows everything, He knows the future, and this means the future is fixed—or there would be nothing to know. This of course also means that humans have no agency, and I have no control over whether I go to heaven or hell, because it has in a sense already happened. If God exists and knows everything, then He doesn’t matter.
Perhaps God knows the future but can change it. This of course means that it is not fixed, and God cannot really know the future. He is not all-knowing. This is not the God I believe Richard refers to in his question, but it would at least explain God’s desire to place dreams and visions in people’s heads that they will interpret as a prophecy. It makes a difference if God speaks to people and offers them His word. God knows what will happen if He does not intervene, or He knows how His actions will change the future, and he sends the desired message. This also helps explain things like prayer—perhaps God first checks to make sure that a particular blessing or healing or other miracle will bring the future God desires. This God matters—but He is not omniscient.
An all-loving and universally benevolent God could not create the world we live in. He could, to be sure, place temptation in front of us, and give us the free will to leave his love unrequited. He could visit suffering upon us, to guide our interpretation of his word and meaning in our lives. But He would have no reason to create an environment where natural disasters visit random suffering with no agency and no lesson. This would not be a loving act, as it has no purpose.
Perhaps God uses natural disasters in his interaction with us. This gives them purpose, and means that God has not brought suffering at random. This gives meaning to pain, at least. But why use physical pain and emotional suffering to make his point? He could just as easily create a universe where the only suffering came of separation from God. For His own reasons, he structured the world as he did, with meaningless hate, killing, disaster, and suffering. When He had the power to avoid it, He placed us in a universe that harms us. This means that his plans, his goals, his ambition for the universe are more important than his love for us. He is not all-loving.
Moreover, God withholds his love from some of His people. Many never have a chance to know Him. Billions of human souls have known life without knowing God. Indeed, it seems that God makes humans partially responsible for spreading His word—which means that he has decided that some of us get to know Him before others. He shows His love to all—eventually. He is loving, but not all-loving.
Finally, an omnipresent God must be part of the systemic arrangement that governs the universe. If God is part of the universe—part of the systemic arrangement that governs the interaction of matter and energy—then He could not have created it—God could not have created Himself. Further, if He is part of the systemic arrangement—the physical rules that govern the interaction of matter and energy—then He cannot break or change these rules. Once set, they constrain God as they constrain the rest of nature.
But if God exists somehow outside the universe—if He is extra-systemic—then He is not omnipresent. For God to be everywhere, He must inhabit our universe with us.
All of this suggests bounds to God’s knowledge, love, and presence. If something limits these characteristics of God, then Richard’s first tenet fails. God cannot know everything, or He becomes unnecessary. He must not love all, or He would behave differently. And He cannot be everywhere, or He would have had to create Himself.