There is something comforting about Buddhism as a religion without gods to worship. And Buddhism is better than philosophy because it has application rather than being a theoretical thing. Philosophy does not have much of a system to deal with how to live.
So when I sit down and meditate or think about Buddha I look at it as embodying the ideals of the teaching (call it philosophy if you will). You can say then Buddha is the only philosopher who gave us a course in living.