I did a reading for a client whose mom was a fundamentalist christian. She believed she was probably going to hell. When she got to the afterlife she expected harsh judgement and harsher punishment. She got neither. She got love, understanding, and growth. It took her a little while to release the idea that she didn't have to spend eternity in hell. On some level she was appalled at how much pain and misery she had put herself through during her life, and she felt this certain desire and desperation to go back and tell her husband not to be so fearful and ashamed. But she couldn't, and he probably wouldn't listen if she did.
After reading for this same client several times over the course of a year, I found that his mother's energy changed each time I tuned in. She was releasing so much of that human religion and accepting and seeing what was truly out there: love, joy, and peace.
Now here's an important point... whatever beliefs you hold about the afterlife when you cross over do affect your initial experience of the afterlife. Some people's beliefs are even strong enough to put them in a sort of hell if they believe they deserve it. Then what happens is the angels come by and try to get you to slough off the expectation of fire and brimstone so they can bring you into the loving light of Source. This can take some time.
Now if someone's religious beliefs are that they are going to heaven and will sit at the right hand of God, then when they cross over they will initially experience a very similar version of heaven to what they expect. But again, the angels will come by and help you slough off your beliefs if they are not accurate. Some people can wallow in their beliefs for a long time, though, resisting the attempts of the angels to see the truth clearly. Sometimes this results in unnecessary soul pain, and sometimes feelings of exaltation have to be removed.
My best advice to anyone who is making their journey home is to be ready to forgive yourself for your trespasses. Be ready to ask for truth and clarity. Don't flog yourself for eternity, there is no need. Learn. Understand. Grow.
You might enjoy these two blog entries: The Life Review The After-Death