This is a little off topic but, I was involved in a discussion about "gods in Buddhism" on a non-Buddhist forum a few months ago. I said that, though there are gods (devas) in Buddhism I didn't believe in them myself but didn't think that other Buddhists would consider that important and they wouldn't consider me to be less of a Buddhist because of it. Do you think that statement is generally true? I'm asking because after I made that post I wasn't 100% sure that it was true.
I have seen interpretations which treat the realms as simply moods or states of mind we fall into, and rebirth as not a literal post-mortem transference of the mind from being to being, but a metaphor for constant change.
At the other extreme I know those whose Tantra involves daily work with the spirit realms, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as real beings. I'm personally closest to the latter understanding of the realms and the beings within them, and have faith based upon my guru, as he repeatedly gives me guidance which works, and my faith based on my own experiences within Vajrayana practice.
There is a course a spectrum of views in betweeen those extremes, and we also have to consider the contextualisation of the different interpretations of the emptiness of inherent existence, including that of ourselves.
Our understanding of reality and our faith in that reality is central to our path - and sometimes we may fall into the trap of thinking that because that path works for us, other paths must be inferior. Again, at the two extremes, threads with accusations of 'superstition' or 'hinayana' applied to other Buddhists, rise from such wrong thinking and lack of compassion.
I'll make the assumption that Shakyamuni would have been raised with an understanding of gods and spirits, possibly through local culture and possibly through reading - for example I think the Ramayana tales would have been available to him.
Now, I find it improbable that after his enlightenment, the Buddha would suddenly teach that these realms of beings are just moods or emotions and we are 'reborn' whenever our mind changes state, and that they are no longer to be understood as 'real' realms with 'real' beings. He had the vocabulary simply to talk of moods and states of mind in plain words, so why confuse his disciples?
As an enlightened being, there is no contradiction in his making use of them, or accepting their help, to further his wish to teach others, and in including them in his teachings as beings which were probably already familiar to his disciples as part of their cosmology.
If we encounter beings from other realms, or feel another person has misunderstood Buddha's teachings, or when a being from any realm appears hostile, or when we want their help, there is one simple approach which works in all contexts - Compassion, a mind which is beyond harm and harming.
Buddha would therefore not have needed
the help of the gods, but out of Compassion he involved them in his work.