Q: Every week in our church, we repeat an old statement of faith that says Jesus descended into hell when He died. But didn’t He tell one of the men who was crucified with Him that he would join Him in heaven? Is this a contradiction? What actually happened to Jesus when He died? — N.S.
A: There are many good reasons to doubt whether the Jesus described in the Christian bible ever existed. However, if there was a real person that the stories of the New Testament were based on, he certainly was not a deity, and he did not go to either a heaven or a hell after he died.
It sounds like this “statement of faith” is a piece of dogma that you and your fellow congregants are supposed to believe without question. However, I am glad that you are questioning what it says. I urge you to continue to question not only this statement of faith but the Christian bible and other teachings. If you approach this rationally, you will likely come to the conclusion that the bible is a collection of myths and superstitions and that Jesus and the Christian god do not exist. For more resources, see this post.
Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.