Twice now I have specifically heard this reaction to the claim in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus was married: it doesn’t matter that Jesus was married or not-it doesn’t change who he was.
When that thought is expressed in the form of a question to Christians opposing the message of the book and movie, it is intended to be a kind of stumbling block intended to befuddle the Christian who has never thought about the merits of Jesus’ bachelorhood, and to open up room for the claim that maybe he was married to Mary Magdalene. I do not know off the top of my head if there are any good theological or philosophical objections to Jesus being married, but I am almost sure there are some. I don’t think that is the right immediate response to that question, however.
The proposal that Jesus was married, and that it isn’t a big deal, is a red herring: it is the wrong question given the context of The Da Vinci Code and all the historical documents relating to Jesus’ life.
The reason Christians should defend the proposition that Jesus was not married is that it is true. It is akin to defending the proposition that George W. Bush is the current president of the U.S. or that Caesar Augustus was ruler of the Roman Empire at such-and-such a time. Truth matters. The truth of historical detail matters and those truths help identify historical figures as who they really were, what they really stood for, and what their followers uphold today.
All the reliable sources about the life of Jesus do not entail his marriage to anyone. The only sources claiming any such marriage were written long after Jesus’ death by those who wanted to change the Christian message.
A friend told me of a Christian co-worker whose reaction to The Da Vinci Code included the conclusion that it doesn’t matter to her whether Jesus was married. She is doubtless trying to exhibit a strong faith, but what it betrays is in fact a powerful anti-intellectualism. It does matter whether Jesus was married because that is a significant feature of his life and all the reliable evidence points to him being a bachelor. Our friend does not need to posit a faith that can stand up to the possibility that Jesus was married because it is false that he was.
It is akin to saying that it doesn’t matter to my faith whether Jesus was born to a Roman noble family in Carthage. I simply don’t need to brace my faith against that possibility.