The language of demons and devils seems to many people outdated and primitive, mythical and superstitious.
Does one have to believe in a literal devil and demons in order to understand Jesus and his message?
Or is it possible to read the exorcism stories with a kind of intentional naivete,...
Does that mean "like fairy tales"?
...suspending judgment long enough to see what insight may come if we don't dismiss them or explain them away too quickly?
Oh, it may be possible. I've no doubt McL and others have tried and will try to do some such thing.
Now, whether something is 'possible' and whether it is 'good' are two different things.
So, why not stress that these things really happened? Does it really matter that some people are dense enough to think their is no devil?
No, what matters to McL is that he needs room to reinterpret those accounts to fit what he wants them to say.
Remember his spin on the temptations of Christ? How the Bible in the accounts of the temptations say nothing about the things McLaren says they are about? Watch out for that same trick in regards to the accounts of Jesus' encounters with the demonic.