Depends on who you are talking to
To some modern Thai Buddhists the Buddha, Phra Phuttajao, is a god. Some pray to the Buddha asking for favours, such as money, passing exams, business etc. Seems not much different to other religions. I have asked these Thais how can the Buddha help as he is 'gone' and have never received an adequate reply.
To modern Western 'rational' Buddhists the Buddha is like a psychologist who prescribed a way to think which reduces suffering.
A guess the Pali texts take a view mid-way between these 2 extremes.