Yours is a nice theory to explain this aspect of human psychology, but it is ignoring a central issue and dilemma, that humans are not unfettered—able to think clearly for themselves to make such choices in a free and unhindered manner. What you are seeing in the uneasiness of the would-be atheist who on the one hand dismisses the idea of an eternal soul, is the tension caused by an inner programming to disbelieve it. The choices of an atheist to disbelieve can be an intellectual exercise as a consequence of lack of exposure to the idea of the divine. But sooner or later, everyone will stumble across information about God, and the idea of there being a purpose for existence, and the various cultural teachings about divinity, and the human makeup will view the issue as an important one.
The fact that humans resonate quite strongly with spiritual concepts is no accident, it is because humans are of the divine that they resonate so strongly with talk about divine principles and with the truth of the divine as a core belief held by many. When this is resisted, it is because of inner conflict, not from being rejected by the would‑be atheist believing they are gaining the high ground and rejecting a superstitious notion of God that cannot be proven and is quite tarnished at this point from all of the warring religious factions with a quite sordid history of human misery done in the name of the Lord. The actual conflict is in reaction to subconscious mind control manipulation to make people disbelieve by implanting such beliefs within their being. This will create, inevitably, a tension between parts of the mind programmed with such beliefs and parts of the mind believing otherwise from prior teachings and life experience that has served to create deeply entrenched belief in a higher power and a higher purpose for human life.
So how this plays out in how a person sees themselves and their beliefs will depend on which part of the mind has the upper hand and how strongly they resist any inner counterargument, as well as any outside pressures seeking to win them over to another perspective. The fundamental problem of belief is the dilemma created by the interlopers to disconnect you from ability to hear us talk to you within your mind, as is happening for your channel at the moment. If everyone retained that capability, the existence of the Almighty would be a given because it would be experienced in the same way you feel the air moving from the wind, see the sunlight, hear the clap of thunder accompanying a rain shower, and smell the aroma of the blooming foliage. Because you have those sensory validations, you believe in nature as you believe in your own existence for the same reason. When God is not in your awareness through your senses, but only an idea, that creates quite a challenge and a burden to belief.
The fact people believe at all is a testament to the power of divinity within you, as there is still a strong resonance with the principles because it truly is your nature and your origin as well—that is why the idea of God does not go away even with this handicap. The sad reality is, many atheists will have a hard time reclaiming belief in the divine because of the programming they have been subjected to; it will be a healing challenge to undo through Belief Replacement the damage that has accumulated with an ongoing steady manipulation of human beings deep within their mind to close them off from the reality of the divine.